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We Need You on Our Team - Stand Alongside the Football Community to Relegate Domestic Violence

24/04/2015 17:39 BST | Updated 24/06/2015 10:59 BST

It's no accident that football is referred to as the 'world language'. It brings people together - no matter who they are, or where they are from. It is a powerful global community, and an exciting one to be a part of. Football means unity, loyalty, passion, and achievement.

There are few forces more powerful - and in our own country, football is particularly fundamental to the culture.

So, Women's Aid is working to use football as an agent for change: to highlight our work, to tackle domestic violence, and to promote equality. If it works, the number of people we can connect with is staggering.

Last year, we launched our Football United Against Domestic Violence campaign, alongside some major players - the FA, the Premier League, BT Sport, the Minister of State, and the Association of Chief Police Officers. We are joining forces with football clubs and organisations to send out the crystal-clear message that domestic violence is always unacceptable. Football United also calls out the sexist behaviour and attitudes that underpin violence against women and girls.

We know that most football fans are totally opposed to domestic violence. We also know that there were increased reports of domestic violence incidents during the 2014 World Cup. Football does not cause domestic violence - but major tournaments can exacerbate existing abuse, perhaps due to tension and alcohol consumption. This build-up of emotion can lead to a domestic violence perpetrator attacking his victim more severely than usual. Any form of sexism that is tolerated in society sends a message that women are not equal and can be abused. We are asking the footballing community to stand with us against all forms of abuse towards women.

We need everyone to be on side. Two women a week in England and Wales are killed at the hands of a partner or ex-partner. 750,000 children witness domestic violence a year. It is not 'someone else's problem' - it is everyone's problem.

Our film 'Unpunished', shows that we all have a part to play in ending domestic violence. Women's Aid stands alongside the football community to declare that women and children have a human right to be safe at home. They have a human right to be protected from violence. These are women and children who live on your street, play in your local park, take the same bus to work and to school - and they need to know that you support them.

Do you want to be part of our team? Take a minute and watch 'Unpunished'. Share it with your friends and family, then sign up to the Football United campaign. Join us by saying that you do not tolerate domestic violence. Work with us and pledge your support to protect the women and children in our communities who are most vulnerable. Spread the word far and wide - and help Women's Aid and the football community send out our message: that domestic violence has no place in our society.

footballunited.org.uk/