Australian Institute of Criminology

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Alcohol and violence - the missing link

Media Release

27 February 2001

A report released today by the Australian Institute of Criminology finds strong links between being young, consuming alcohol and violence.

Approximately three quarters of all alcohol-related violence is committed by young persons aged 14-24 years of age and about half of the violence committed by this age group is committed by just six percent of the young persons. This violence can take many forms (e.g. from property damage to verbal abuse, from physical assault through to homicide).

In releasing the report, Dr Adam Graycar, AIC Director said "There is overwhelming evidence however, of a link between alcohol consumption and violent behaviour. Violence is more likely to occur in the presence of alcohol consumption. We know that levels of alcohol consumption are higher among younger than older people, and particularly among young males. It is no surprise then, that alcohol-related violence is concentrated among young people and particularly among young males. However, a conclusion that alcohol causes violence among young persons is nonetheless, too simplistic".

The 260 page report, Alcohol, Young Persons and Violence, edited by Paul Williams also looks at interventions which aim to reduce alcohol-related violence. These include situational measures at the establishment and industry level (e.g. banning drink promotions, providing safe drinking environments), at the community level (e.g. implementing 'alcohol accords' between industry, law enforcement and local councils), through to educative and supportive models of early interventions that promote healthy families.

Alcohol, Young Persons and Violence is the result of a thorough analysis in which experts from around Australia came to the Australian Institute of Criminology to assist in the development of the national alcohol strategy. The report discusses theoretical approaches to understanding alcohol-related violence, examines new empirical data on alcohol-related violence, and explores innovative preventive interventions.