At the beginning of the 2019-20 season Cumberland FA, Carlisle United FC and Cumbria Constabulary began a campaign to confront, reduce and raise awareness of domestic abuse in Cumbria.
The United Against Abuse initiative works with charities who deal with domestic abuse, aims to reduce domestic abuse offending, encourage greater reporting of abuse and increase the understanding of the public – including children- about domestic abuse and the support available.
Detective Inspector James Yallop said: “Using the power of football and sport we began this campaign to send out a strong message from everyone; men, women and children that domestic abuse has to stop. Domestic abuse effects people for the rest of their lives and people shouldn’t have to live like that.
“It can be really difficult for people to report domestic abuse to the Police so it is important they know what support is available. Organisations and charities such as Respect and Turning the Spotlight are able to offer support to anyone who may be abusing their partner or displaying unhealthy behaviour within their relationship so I would encourage people to use those services at the earliest opportunity.”
“We want children in the county who are witnessing domestic abuse in their homes to know that it is not normal – it is not the way to treat someone you are in a relationship with – and there is help available.”
With football often seen as ‘microcosm’ of wider society, Cumberland FA continue to back the initiative and urge all Leagues, Clubs and Match Officials to pass the message on that we are ‘United Against Abuse’.
The FA’s Respect programme is having an impact on behaviour; however, Cumberland FA are aware that any report of abuse is one too many. As a ‘Football Family’ we want to share the message that abuse in any form will not be accepted inside or outside of the game.
As part of the campaign during 2019-20, teams across Cumberland were encouraged to play a match or take part in a training session whilst wearing a red stripe on their face to raise awareness of domestic abuse. The red stripe initiative was launched in Italy’s Serie A at the start of the 2018/19 season.
Cumberland FA teams who played with the red stripe and tagged photos of players doing so with the hashtag #UnitedAgainstAbuse were entered into a competition to win a full football kit for their team, complete with a ‘United Against Abuse’ sponsor!
26 teams took part and showed their support for the United Against Abuse campaign. The draw was made just before the season was cut short and Workington Diamonds FC were the recipients of the new kit!
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Cumberland FA were delighted to present the full kit to Workington Diamonds FC recently and the team have already had the chance to wear it in a friendly fixture against Whitehaven AFC.
Cumberland FA’s Nike partner Kitlocker provided the #UnitedAgainstAbuse message on the kit.
Diamonds Manager Andy Rush commented “Many thanks to Cumberland FA and the police for organising such a powerful message on the kit competition in give domestic abuse the red card. As coaches we don’t know what goes on at home with our players, coaches and parents; football is an escape for many people and this is why it is essential that it should me a fun and safe environment for all ages.”
Cumbria Police would like to reassure victims of domestic abuse that they are still here to help and support you during the Covid-19 pandemic.
To make a report of domestic abuse, call 999 in an emergency.
If you want to make a non-urgent report or need advice please call 101, email email@example.com or fill in the online reporting form here
Get Domestic Abuse advice from Cumbria Police
Mankind is a dedicated initiative helping men escape domestic abuse
Visit the Mankind.org.uk website
The confidential helpline (01823 334244) to support men suffering from domestic abuse is available for male victims of domestic abuse and male victims of domestic violence across the UK.
The helplines welcomes calls from mothers, sisters and friends of male victims seeking information.