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Do Domestic Violence Arrests Really Spike on Super Bowl Sunday?

Written by Moses & Rooth on February 4, 2011

For years we have heard that episodes of domestic violence dramatically rise on Super Bowl Sunday. Much like the common belief that hospital emergency rooms are busier when there’s a full moon, the truth of the Super Bowl violence matter is shrouded in mystery. Or is it?

Many Believe There is No Link between the Super Bowl and Violence

Organizations supporting victims of domestic violence have voiced their opinion that the belief is a myth. These advocates trace the impression back to 1993, when an organization known as FAIR released a press release, stating that “Super Bowl Sunday is… one of the worst days of the year for violence against women and in the home.” Reputable news agencies such as NBC Sports, CBS and the Associated Press ran with the story, even though the claim lacked reliable statistics to support it (they later retracted their reports).

People working to aid victims of domestic violence say that the erroneous news reports from 1993 caused this impression. They wish the misconception would die out because they work to reveal truths about domestic violence and do not want myths clouding such a serious issue.

While the 1993 news blunder did happen, many believe there is still truth in the correlation between Super Bowl Sunday and domestic violence.

Some Say Super Bowl Causes More Arrests for Domestic Violence

Dr. Jeff Kalina is an emergency medicine physician in Houston who often treats victims of domestic violence. Kalina believes that the Super Bowl causes the perfect storm for violence in the home. “There is a lot of testosterone flying around during the Super Bowl. You mix that with alcohol and underlying relationship problems and you have a recipe for disaster,” he remarked. Some accomplished economists’ research may support Kalina’s belief.

Economists David Card and Gordon B. Dahl analyzed police reports of family violence during the NFL season. They concluded that upset losses against the home team created a spike in calls reporting domestic violence. Such a study could lend credibility to the notion that NFL football has a link to domestic violence.

In Conclusion

Although the link between the Super Bowl and family violence may have been born through faulty reporting, there may be some credibility to the claim. In the future, maybe someone will create a reliable study evidencing a correlation.

What we certainly do know is that the Super Bowl often involves a lot of drinking. Common sense tells us that this can lead to arrests for a variety of different crimes and will certainly cause a spike in DUI offenses. However, it appears that the Super-Bowl-domestic-violence conundrum will live on for at least another year. Perhaps in February 2012 we will have a definitive answer.

Be safe; enjoy the game and try to relax.

Posted Under: Domestic Violence

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