Licensing and alcohol related violence
Our 2012 Annual Alcohol Poll found that just under a third of adult Australians (31%) have been affected by alcohol-related violence, with 14% of Australian adults indicating that they have been victims of alcohol-related violence, while 22% have had a family member of friend affected.
When asked which problems associated with alcohol misuse that people are most concerned about, 76% indicated violence, while 24% indicated excessive noise around pubs and clubs.
For the first time the poll asked Australians if they believe that alcohol-related problems will reduce or get worse over the next five to 10 years. 79% of Australians believe that alcohol-related problems will get worse or remain the same, while only 12% believe that alcohol-related problems will decline.
For the first time the poll also asked Australians about how they felt about the number of alcohol outlets in their local area. Just over half of adult Australians (57%) believe that there are the right number of alcohol outlets in their area, however 29% think that there are too many, 5% think there are too few and 9% are uncertain.
Why is this important?
Alcohol-related violence is a significant concern among Australians. A proven way to address alcohol-related harms is through licensing measures that include restricting the trading hours of licenced premises.
An example of the effectiveness of such restrictions is demonstrated through the reforms that were introduced in Newcastle. In March 2008, the NSW Liquor Administration Board imposed a number of restrictions on 14 licensed premises in Newcastle, which included shortened trading hours, a 1am lockout and prohibiting the sale of particular products, including shots, after 10.00pm.
These restrictions have now been in place for four years. An evaluation of the effectiveness of the interventions three years on found that there was a:
Research is also increasingly demonstrating the link between the number of licenced outlets in an area and alcohol related harms. A recent study of the number of licenced outlets in Melbourne found that a higher density of licensed premises, where the primary activity is alcohol consumption, (i.e. pubs) is associated with higher rates of assault-related hospital admissions 2.
What can we do to reduce alcohol related violence?
The Newcastle experience demonstrates that implementing evidence-based licensing controls can significantly reduce alcohol-related violence. This has been acknowledged by the Last Drinks campaign which represents a coalition of organisations that are now calling on a range of regulatory measures to be rolled out across NSW. These measures include:
FARE is supports these measures and also calls on other states and territories across Australia to consider such measures, particularly in relation to reducing extended training hours.
Experiences with alcohol related violence