THE chairman of a domestic violence support forum in Dorset has praised police for their ‘proactive action’ during the World Cup.
Dorset Police announced they are bringing in additional specially-trained officers to target known domestic violence offenders during the tournament.
Previous victims of domestic abuse will also be visited during the tournament to check they are safe.
The force said it received on average 700 reports of domestic violence per month, but this figure spiked during major sporting tournaments.
Molly Rennie, chairman of the Domestic Violence Forum for Weymouth, Portland and West Dorset, and chairman of the advisory committee for the West Dorset Women’s Refuge, praised the introduction of more officers and said it would lead to people feeling more comfortable to report domestic violence.
She said: “It’s really good that the police are recognising the need to be a bit more proactive in protecting the safety of women and children at certain flashpoints in the year.
“The police are being proactive rather than reactive which is a good sign.
“Statistics show incidents of domestic violence and abuse are increasing, whe-ther that is the actual crime is increasing or because more people are reporting these crimes because they feel safer in reporting them is unknown.
“Because the police are being proactive it actually encourages people to come forward because they know the police are interested and are looking to help them.
“There are different levels of abuse, whether it is mental or physical, and if you can catch the abusers early and work with the perpetrators to manage it rather than reacting to very serious cases, which can in the worst cases lead to deaths, then that has to be a positive.”
Mrs Rennie said it was unknown why sporting events like the World Cup led to an increase in domestic violence crimes.
Mrs Rennie continued: “I don’t know why major sporting occasions are flash points but it is recognised that it is.
“Alcohol does not make somebody commit domestic violence and abuse, but it does exacerbate the situation.
“I don’t think it has anything to do with the score line, or how badly the team plays, but there is more going on and maybe it is just a rush of blood to the head or the stresses are there that make people lash out.
“It is not just physical abuse either. Mental abuse is appalling too.”