Soccer aims to kick out domestic violence

#SafeHome

25 August 2020 | Sports

The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) announced that it is joining forces with the African Union, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to jointly address the issue of domestic violence by launching the #SafeHome campaign across Africa.

The initiative is designed to support women and children who are victims of domestic violence, particularly as stay-at-home measures in response to Covid-19 have put them at greater risk.

Statistics indicate that almost one in three women worldwide experiences physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner or sexual violence by someone else in their lifetime. In the majority of cases, that violence is committed by a partner in their home. In actual fact, up to 38% of all murders of women are committed by an intimate partner.

It is also estimated that one billion children aged between two and 17-years (or half the world’s children) have experienced physical, sexual, or emotional violence or have been neglect in the past year.

There are many reasons why people perpetrate domestic violence, including gender inequality and social norms that condone violence, childhood experiences of abuse or exposure to violence, and coercive control growing up.

Harmful use of alcohol can also trigger violence. Stressful situations, such as those being experienced during the Covid-19 pandemic and economic instability, exacerbate the risk. Moreover, the current distancing measures in place in many countries make it harder for women and children to reach out to family, friends and health workers who could otherwise provide support and protection.

Soccer stars on board

Against this background, a number of African football stars are supporting the campaign via video awareness messages distributed on social and traditional media.

In Africa, the awareness videos feature nine football stars: Abel Xavier, Emmanuel Amuneke, Sarah Essam, Khalilou Fadiga, Geremi, Rabah Madjer, Lúcia Moçambique, Asisat Oshoala and Clémentine Touré, who convey a series of key messages to the public.

The African Union-FIFA-CAF memorandum of understanding which was concluded in February 2019, covers joint campaigns on topics of mutual interest and the promotion of gender equality, a key principle. Other areas of collaboration include education through football, sports integrity and safety and security at football matches.

FIFA called on member associations to actively publish details of national or local helplines and support services that can help victims and anyone who feels they are at risk of domestic violence in their locality.

The world governing body also called upon its members to review their own safeguarding measures using the FIFA Guardians toolkit to ensure that football is fun and safe for everyone in the game, especially women and the youngest members of the football family.

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