Australia: Alcohol Fuels Family Violence
Alcohol is involved in at least one in four domestic violence cases brought to the Warrnambool Base Hospital Emergency Department in Victoria, Australia.
Data collected by emergency staff and Deakin University researchers as part of the a study highlight the insidious role of alcohol on family and intimate partner violence. The researchers surveyed every adult presenting at Warrnambool Base Hospital emergency, asking questions about their alcohol consumption in the 12 hours prior to arrival.
The data revealed two-out-of-three victims presenting to the ED were female, but domestic violence victims who had also been consuming alcohol were 87% female.
Geoff Soma, Western Region Alcohol and other Drug Centre (WRAD) director, says evidence indicated the supply of alcohol was related to the rates of harm.
Currently, WRAD is running a pilot programme in engaging GPs to screen patients for alcohol use, as it is a key health issue. WRAD believes it is equally important for health professionals to ask questions around family violence to improve the support pathway and ensure people received the help they needed as early as possible.
Alcohol harm in Australia
The per capita alcohol consumption in Australia is high comparative to the WHO Western Pacific region. The resulting effect is seen in health consequences where Australian men suffer from alcohol use disorders more than others in the region. Further strengthening alcohol control policy within the country would enable to prevent and reduce alcohol harm such as family and domestic violence.