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Police fear rugby will kick off abuse at home.

WHEN Dan Carter goes head to head against the likes of James Hook later this month, the big hits on the pitch could be followed by darker confrontations in Wales' bedrooms and living rooms.

South Wales Police are making preparations to deal with incidents of domestic violence, when the autumn rugby internationals are being held.

The force says it experiences a big rise in violent attacks in the home at times when alcohol consumption goes up, such as at Christmas or when big matches are being played.

Police warn they will now press charges - even when there is no complaint from the victim.

A police spokesman said: "The damage such incidents cause to family life and the community is often immeasurable.

"We are totally committed to dealing with all such incidents robustly and with professionalism.

"From research we are able to identify peak periods for domestic abuse incidents and this shows that incidents are particularly high around times of large sporting events such as rugby internationals.

"It is during these times and other periods, such as Christmas, that emotions are often running high with a prevalence of alcohol consumption."

Last year, a police operation was mounted in the South Wales Valleys during the Rugby World Cup to allow them to respond quickly to domestic violence. Specialist officers patrolled in vehicles on match days in areas such as Caerphilly county.

Gwent Police said a similar scheme during the Six Nations tournament last year proved a success.

The EasternWomen's Refuge manager, Rhonda Cox-Nissen, said it received a surge of calls to its crisis line in the rugby season.

"The rugby season is notorious. Quite often women don't relay that until they're in a refuge. It's not something they tell over the crisis line."

Detective Inspector Peter Doyle, of South Wales Police's Public Protection Unit, said: "The message is simple - South Wales Police will not tolerate domestic abuse and will react in a robust fashion whenever and wherever it occurs.

There are no excuses for such behaviour."
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Nov 1, 2008
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