Alcohol and Domestic Violence

Two women having a fight in bathroom
Alcohol and domestic violence

Editor’s Note: Today on Drink Tank, we continue our in-depth coverage of, and response to FARE’s Annual Alcohol Poll.  As the country’s most comprehensive poll focused solely on Australians’ attitudes to alcohol, the poll always attracts significant media attention, and the 2017 poll was no different.

2017 was the first year in which Australians were asked if they perceived a link between alcohol and family and domestic violence. A staggering 92 per cent of Australians said they did.

The evidence showing alcohol’s involvement in family and domestic violence is not in dispute, and FARE has long advocated for the introduction of practical evidence-based policy measures that would reduce alcohol-related family and domestic violence.

As such, FARE welcomes the statement released yesterday from White Ribbon.

 “White Ribbon would welcome renewed leadership from governments on this issue to ensure that public awareness and policy recognises the undeniable linkages between alcohol and domestic violence on all fronts.”

FARE also acknowledges that family and domestic violence does not occur every time someone drinks. FDV is a complex issue. Other factors are usually also involved when alcohol is.  But still, there is a strong and undeniable connection; if you diminish or remove alcohol from the equation, the harm often will not occur, or will be less severe.

Today on Drink Tank, Corrine Barraclough, conservative and controversial Daily Telegraph columnist, responds to the poll findings.


Two women having a fight in bathroom

Every single time I write about alcohol education I have an angry mob of feminists tearing strips off me.

They like to blame gender.

I prefer to acknowledge the truth: violence breeds in bottles of booze.

New research released on Thursday confirms I am not the only one. In fact, a staggering majority of Australians have joined the dots between alcohol and violence – 92% believe alcohol is related to family and domestic violence.

Now in its eight year, the ‘Annual alcohol poll 2017: Attitudes and behaviours’ found that almost 78% believe Australia has a problem with excess drinking.

This is the first year Australians were asked if they perceived a link between alcohol and domestic violence.

As FARE Chief Executive Michael Thorn says, “The evidence showing alcohol’s involvement in family and domestic violence is not in dispute, and for an even longer time we’ve had the anecdotal proof as well. The public, whether witnessing this first-hand of through the media, clearly understands and acknowledges the link, with a majority of those (80%) calling on governments to step up and address the problem.”

The problem is, the government, and to be fair the vast majority of other leading parties, are drowning in the blame game perpetuated by feminist lobby groups.

Every day we hear talk about ‘violence against women’.

Of course that’s one important part of the battle, but this conversation should about identifying contributing factors to domestic violence in homes.

Why do they persist in attempting to stifle this connection?

If we’re serious about tackling domestic violence, it starts with acknowledging it is a battle entirely separate to the feminist agenda.

Alcohol is estimated to be involved in up to half of partner violence in Australia. In 2012, alcohol was found to be present in 41 per cent of domestic assaults in New South Wales and rose to 60 per cent in the remote west of NSW.

FARE describes alcohol as a “significant factor” in family violence saying, “Alcohol consumption of both the perpetrator and the victim is a factor that contributes to physical violence. This association has been recognised by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Council of Australia Governments.”

The truth is, alcohol and substances cause chemical changes in our brains and every individual reacts differently. Poor emotional and impulse control is a huge contributing factor to triggering violence — in both genders.

The key to taking action in our battle against domestic violence isn’t about gender – it’s about causes.

There are changes we can implement swiftly that don’t involve brainwashing a new generation about “toxic masculinity” which is eternally more harmful than 55 shots of tequila for breakfast.

FARE recently reported that around a million Australian children are harmed as a result of their carers’ drinking.

This isn’t about “bad men” – this is about booze having negative effects on people of both genders.

A huge 92% of the Australian population can see it. Why isn’t the government taking action?

White Ribbon hastily issued a press release, of course slipping in, “Alcohol is not the underlying driver of violence against women, but it can be a significant contributor. Men always have a choice.”

And women? They drink too.

Stop with your denial and start actually working towards solutions. Perhaps to begin, White Ribbon should remove their presence from BWS? Just a thought…

 

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Corrine Barraclough

Corrine Barraclough is a freelance writer based on the Gold Coast. She’s been a journalist for nearly 20 years and held senior positions at several national magazines in London and New York before moving to Sydney to edit NW magazine. She now lives by the beach, has her work/life balance in order, and is proud to say she stopped drinking alcohol well over a year ago. Corrine is passionate about alcohol education and personal responsibility.

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