Enough of alcohol fuelled violence

The Salvation Army is calling for urgent action to be taken by the Commonwealth and State Governments to curb binge-drinking and the alcohol-fuelled violence.


The Salvation Army's Clinical Director of Recovery Services, Gerard Byrne, says the loss of life due to alcohol-fuelled violence in recent times is not only unacceptable but also indicative that the situation is out of control.


"Alcohol abuse is clearly at the root of the increase in violence on our streets... this has to stop" Mr Byrne said.


"We know that alcohol abuse is propped up through access to cheap alcohol, overly liberal opening hours of bars and clubs, marketing blitzes of alcohol products via all forms of media (including social media) and through the sponsorship of sporting and social events by the liquor industry."


The Salvation Army is calling on the Commonwealth and State and Governments to consider a range of approaches to curb binge-drinking and alcohol-fuelled violence. Such approaches include a review of the Crimes Act to address community concerns about the leniency of sentences for offenders of alcohol related violence, reduced density and number of liquor outlets, reduced trading hours, risk-based licencing systems similar to those which have been implemented by local communities around Australia (e.g. Newcastle) as well as the regulation of sponsorship of sporting and social events by the liquor industry.


In addition to legislative and regulatory changes, The Salvation Army also calls for the implementation of community and schools based education programs with the aim of raising the awareness of all Australians to the danger that alcohol poses in relation to the social problems and violence it causes.


“The abuse of alcohol is out of control in our community and there is no doubt that there needs to be more done by all concerned if we are to reduce the occurrence of alcohol-fuelled violence in the community,” Mr Byrne concluded.


We should also consider following the United States move to again increase the drinking age to 21 years of age, not only to protect younger people from violence but also to protect the developing brain of young people which matures in the mid-twenties and to reduce the high and tragic incidence of vehicle crash related injury and death.


20 January 2014.