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Mark Bellis

Abstract

Reducing Alcohol-Related Violence – Equity, Environment and Early Years

Globally, consumption of alcohol is strongly associated with violence. The Crime Survey for England and Wales reports that approximately half (49%) of an estimated 1.9 million violent incidents each year are alcohol-related. This excludes many of the two million cases of domestic violence and nearly half a million incidents of sexual assault committed in England and Wales each year where between 25%-40% are likely to be alcohol-related. Alcohol is also associated with child maltreatment, elder abuse and self-directed harm (e.g. suicide). With many violent incidents occurring near where people drink, prevention efforts often focus on adapting the design and management of drinking locations (e.g. nightlife settings) to reduce risks of violence. In addition, policy initiatives have aimed to limit access to alcohol through: taxation and pricing policies that increase price and restrict the number of establishments licensed to sell alcohol; altering hours of trading; and controlling advertising of alcohol products. Such measures have proved effective at reducing alcohol-related violence. However, evidence increasingly suggests that individuals' propensity to engage in violence is also related to their current socio-economic conditions and their history of exposure to violence and other stressors since conception. This presentation discusses the relative contributions of environmental, socio-economics and early years experiences to alcohol-related violence. It explores the potential consequences of an expanding global alcohol market which is vigorously pursuing sales in developing countries and examines how understanding relationships between alcohol and violence can be utilised in violence prevention.

 

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