Alcohol-related Violence Increasing in Australia

by Medindia Content Team on  April 15, 2008 at 1:09 PM Lifestyle News   - G J E 4
Alcohol-related Violence Increasing in Australia
Alcohol-related violence is becoming rampant in Australia. Almost one in five there is touched by the problem.

The Morgan Poll, which surveyed 694 people, showed almost one in five or 3.1 million Australians had endured alcohol-related violence or knew a friend or relative who had.

According to the research, more than 10 million people were concerned about violence when visiting licensed premises or entertainment districts after dark and 14.5 million believed there was a direct link between binge-drinking and an increase in violence.

Overall, the poll results show 14 million Australians have concerns about alcohol-related violence and 10 million are more concerned now than three years ago.

The research was released Tuesday at the simultaneous launch of the National Alliance Against Alcohol Related Violence in Sydney and Melbourne.

More than 20 drug and alcohol organisations have banded together to form the alliance, which is calling on the Federal Government to reform the alcohol taxation system and review alcohol's place under the national competition policy.

It also calls for the number of venues and opening hours to be reduced by state governments.

The alliance includes the Australian National Council on Drugs (ANCD), the Alcohol and Education Rehabilitation Foundation (AER), the Salvation Army, the National Drug Research Institute (NDRI) and the Mental Health Council of Australia.

AER chief executive Daryl Smeaton said it was the first time such a large number of peak groups had joined together to highlight the issue.

He said the Federal Government's $53 million binge-drinking program was an important step, but the Government needed a clear plan for dealing with alcohol-related violence.

"Savage brutal attacks are becoming more frequent,'' he said.

"This is now a crisis, it's critical the Prime Minister as well as premiers take action.

"The sheer scale of this issue means a huge national initiative needs to be put in place to tackle alcohol-related violence head on, everything has to be put under the microscope.''

Smeaton said that in every country where the price of alcohol had been increased, the levels of consumption and violence had dropped.

He said the alliance was not anti-alcohol, but believed there needed to be a change in the way Australians drank, with alcohol misuse costing the economy more than $15 billion a year.

"We are saying our streets are becoming unsafe, people have had enough and alcohol-related violence can never be acceptable,'' he said.

"It's not just our streets. So much alcohol-related violence is also going on behind closed doors.''

National Drug Research Institute researcher Tanya Chikritzhs said the link between alcohol and physical aggression was strong, with research evidence estimating about 47 per cent of perpetrators of violence and 43 per cent of victims were intoxicated or had been drinking before the incident.

"At state and territory levels, the physical availability of alcohol needs to be directly addressed by reducing trading hours and numbers of licensed premises,'' Dr Chikritzhs said.

"Australian research has shown that extended trading hours for licensed premises increases violent assaults in and around premises by up to 70 per cent and premises with 24-hour trading are especially associated with high rates of violence.''

Source: Medindia

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