Study links alcohol sales and violence

The Age (Australia) February 15, 2008

EVERY new bottle shop opened in a rural area will lead to 32 assaults, and each new pub in the city will spark 17 domestic violence cases, alcohol researchers have claimed. Experts say a new study has for the first time confirmed a direct link between density of liquor outlets and alcohol-related violence. They say it will give local communities stricken by alcohol abuse clear evidence of social harm when objecting to a new liquor licence. Dr Tanya Chikritzhs of the National Drug Research Institute said the findings were the “tip of the iceberg”.

“What we’ve presented is only the assaults that are reported to the police. Only around one in 10 domestic violence incidents actually get reported, so this is a much bigger problem that we thought,” Dr Chikritzhs said. “We’re seeing more and more deregulation of the industry, everyone wants a liquor licence, even hairdressers and video stores. It shouldn’t just be about open slather and profits for a minority when the majority wear the cost.” The study correlated assault figures with the number of “average-size” bottle shops and pubs to calculate additional annual assaults caused by a new outlet.