Today, the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research (CAPR) at La Trobe University released some disturbing figures on the surge in reports of domestic violence on State of Origin game days. Looking at assault figures from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR), they found that on nights when the annual rugby series between NSW and Queensland was on NSW experience around 38 reported domestic assaults across the state.
CAPR deputy director Dr Michael Livingston noted: “In the 12-hour window from 6 PM to 6 AM on State of Origin game night, women and children in NSW are almost 40 percent more likely to become victims of domestic violence."
The figures were collected over six years, during the 11 weeks that State of Origin games were played.
When it comes to non-domestic assaults, researchers also observed a 71.8 percent increase. Tellingly, the findings were not mirrored in Victoria, a state that Dr Livingston points out has less interest in rugby league.
Responding to the results, chief executive from Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) Michael Thorn reflected: “It’s crystal clear that the State of Origin fixtures are leading to a surge in domestic violence."
He tied the spike not only to increased alcohol consumption during the games, but also “masculinity, tribalism, and the toxic level of aggressive alcohol promotion have collided in such a way as to encourage drinking to excess and domestic violence.”
If you or someone close to you is impacted by domestic violence, support and advice is available through The National Sexual Assault, Family & Domestic Violence Counselling Line: 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)