Culture

Here’s Your Reminder That Last Night’s State Of Origin Likely Saw Domestic Violence Spike By 40%

What's the NRL doing about it?

state of origin domestic violence

“Recovering” from State of Origin night in this country is usually taken to mean nursing a hangover at work, but here’s your reminder that for many Australians, it’s a lot worse.

According to a study released just last week, domestic violence spikes by an average of 40.7 percent on Origin night. That’s an enormous jump, and while we don’t have the numbers for last night’s Origin yet, there’s no reason to believe they’re going to be much better. After all, the only thing that’s changed is the game’s now on a Sunday.

The study, by the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research, examined the number of domestic and non-domestic assaults recorded by police between 6pm and 6am on Wednesday nights close to Origin night in NSW. It found that numbers of domestic and non-domestic assaults reported are much higher on State of Origin nights than ordinary Wednesdays — domestic assaults spiked by 40.7 percent, while non-domestic assaults spiked by 71.8 percent.

What’s more, there was no similar increase in Victoria on the same nights, where State of Origin is less of a big deal.

“It’s crystal clear that the State of Origin fixtures are leading to a surge in domestic violence. It’s happening on the National Rugby League’s watch and women and children are being harmed as a direct consequence of these games,” Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) Chief Executive Michael Thorn said in response to the study.

“The drivers of domestic violence are complex and many, however, the disturbing findings released today suggest the State of Origin’s particular celebration of heavy drinking, 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,” he added.

FARE Research Manager Dr Melanie Pescud acknowledged that there’s no easy way to stop the spike in domestic violence associated with State of Origin, but called on the NRL to take responsibility for trying.

“The NRL must look at ways it can effectively address its connection between the code and domestic violence, and its relationship with alcohol is a good start,” she said. “The State of Origin series and NRL more broadly has become a battle of toxic masculinity and beer brands — it’s hard to know where the game ends and the violence and alcohol sponsorship begins”.

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If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.

Men can access anonymous confidential telephone counselling to help to stop using violent and controlling behaviour through the Men’s Referral Service on 1300 766 491.