This post deals with domestic violence and might be triggering for some readers.
Pubs, police and paramedics are prepared. They know what this weekend will bring.
This weekend, domestic violence figures will probably surge and women and children - the most likely victims of family violence - will be at more risk of harm.
In case you didn't know, both the AFL and the NRL will hold their Grand Finals this weekend. They are typically a weekend apart, but the pandemic has shifted their schedules and they both now fall within just one day of each other.
At 6:30pm on Saturday, an umpire will bounce a ball in the centre circle of Brisbane's Gabba to signify the start of the long-awaited game between Richmond and Geelong. Whether in the crowd, in a pub or from their couch, millions of Australians will watch on, divided by what colour jersey they support.
Then, on Sunday, another Grand Final. This time, a referee will blow his whistle to kick off the NRL game between the Penrith Panthers and Melbourne Storm. Again, millions of Australians will find a television screen to watch the game, likely with a beer in one hand.
It will be a time of celebration for many, but for others, this weekend statistically brings with it danger.
Watch: The hidden numbers of women and violence. Post continues below video.
In 2019, the NRL and AFL Grand Finals saw a spike in domestic violence incidents.
On AFL Grand Final Day, NSW saw an increase of 16.28 per cent of family violence incidents. Victoria experienced a 15.11 per cent increase.
On NRL Grand Final Day, NSW saw a 27.91 per cent increase in family violence police incidents. Victoria saw an increase of 11.56 per cent in family incidents.
A decade of Tasmanian Police data also shows family arguments and family violence incidents are 35 per cent higher on the AFL grand final, compared to other days.
They aren't isolated statistics. High-profile sporting days typically coincides with spikes in domestic violence. Research from the New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research reveals there is a 40.7 per cent average increase in domestic violence during the State of Origin matches each year.
No - sport doesn’t cause domestic violence. Rather, a complex cocktail of factors do. Research shows that the spike is not caused by the disappointment of a person’s ‘team’ losing, but rather other factors often associated with Grand Finals including alcohol, gambling and heightened emotions, according to the Queensland Centre for Domestic and Family Violence Research.