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4530.0 - Crime Victimisation, Australia, 2011-12 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 19/02/2013   
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Contents >> Personal Crime >> Contribution of Alcohol to Assault

CONTRIBUTION OF ALCOHOL AND/OR ANY OTHER SUBSTANCE TO ASSAULT

Research has indicated that the consumption of alcohol is associated with acts of violence, although there is no clear relationship between the level of alcohol consumed and the likelihood of becoming either a victim or perpetrator of violence (AIC 2000). Other research has found assaults to be highly concentrated around licensed premises (Burgess and Moffatt, 2011).

In the Crime Victimisation Survey, victims of physical assault and face-to-face threatened assault were asked whether they believed alcohol and/or any other substance contributed to their most recent incident of assault (Endnote 1)(see Data Collection section of the Explanatory Notes for more information). These questions were asked for the first time in the Crime Victimisation Survey in 2010–11, and again in 2011–12.

Nationally, 59% (291,000) of physical assault victims aged 18 years and over believed alcohol and/or any other substance contributed to their most recent incident, while 55% (303,700) of face-to-face threatened assault victims believed the same. There was no statistically significant change in the proportion of people who felt alcohol and/or any other substance contributed to their most recent incident of assault, either physical assault or face-to-face threatened assault, between 2010–11 to 2011–12 (ABS 2012).

SEX AND AGE OF VICTIM

The majority of both male and female victims of physical and face-to-face threatened assault believed that alcohol and/or any other substance contributed to the most recent incident of assault they experienced. 59% of male victims of face-to-face threatened assault and 47% of female victims of threatened assault perceived that alcohol and/or any other substance was a contributing factor. This difference was statistically significant. There was no statistically significant difference between male and female victims who believed alcohol and/or any other substance contributed to their most recent incident for physical assault.

Victims aged 25 to 34 years were more likely to believe alcohol and/or any other substance contributed to their most recent incident of physical assault than victims in the middle age groups. 67% of victims aged 25 to 34 years believed alcohol and/or any other substance contributed to their most recent incident of physical assault, compared to 52% of victims aged 35 to 44 years, 54% of those 45 to 54 years and 47% of 55 to 64 year old victims. There were no statistically significant differences between the age groups of victims who believed alcohol and/or any other substance contributed to the most recent face-to-face threatened assault they experienced.


CHARACTERISTICS OF THE OFFENDER

For victims who believed alcohol and/or any other substance contributed to the most recent incident of face-to-face threatened assault they experienced, the offender was more likely to be male (57%) than female (44%). There was no statistically significant difference between victims of physical assault by male or female offenders who believed alcohol and/or any other substance contributed to the most recent incident.

Victims of physical assault were more likely to believe alcohol and/or any other substance contributed to the most recent incident they experienced if the offender was a friend (76%). This was significantly higher than the overall proportion of victims of physical assault who believed alcohol and/or any other substance contributed to their most recent incident (59%). In comparison, victims of physical assault by a boyfriend, girlfriend, ex-boyfriend, ex-girlfriend or date (34%) or within a professional relationship such as a client, student or patient (23%), were less likely to believe alcohol and/or any other substance contributed to their most recent incident.

For victims of face-to-face threatened assault, 75% of of those who knew the offender by sight only and 62% of victims where the offender was a stranger believed that alcohol and/or any other substance contributed to their most recent incident. In both cases, victims were more likely to believe alcohol and/or any other substance contributed to their most recent incident than the overall proportion of victims of face to face threatened assault (55%). In contrast, victims of face-to-face threatened assault by a current partner (31%) or within a professional relationship such as a client, student or patient (40%) were less likely to believe alcohol and/or any other substance contributed to their most recent incident.

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE INCIDENT

Victims of physical and face-to-face threatened assault were more likely to believe alcohol and/or any other substance contributed to the most recent incident if it occurred in a place of entertainment or recreation. Eighty-seven per cent of victims of physical assault and 75% of victims of face-to-face threatened assault whose most recently experienced incident occurred at a place of entertainment or recreation (licensed or unlicensed) believed alcohol and/or any other substance contributed to the most recent incident. This was statistically significantly higher than than the overall proportion of victims who believed that alcohol and/or any other substance contributed to their most recent incident (59% for physical assault and 55% for face to face threatened assault respectively). Seventy-nine per cent of victims of physical assault whose most recent incident occurred in another person’s home and 81% of victims whose most recent incident occurred at a train station, bus stop or interchange also believed alcohol and/or any other substance contributed to the incident; higher than the overall proportion of victims who believed that alcohol and/or any other substance contributed to their most recent incident.

Sixty-eight per cent of victims against whom a weapon was used in the most recent incident of face-to-face threatened assault believed alcohol and/or any other substance contributed to the incident. This was higher than for victims of face-to-face threatened assault where a weapon was not used, of whom 53% believed alcohol and/or any other substance contributed to the incident. There was no statistically significant difference between victims of physical assault against whom a weapon was used and those where a weapon was not used, who believed that alcohol and/or any other substance contributed to the most recent incident they experienced.

REFERENCES

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) (2012) Crime Victimisation, Australia, 2010-11, Cat. No. 4530.0, Canberra: ABS.
Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) (2000) ‘Alcohol Related Assault: Time and Place’, Trends and Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice, No. 169, Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology.
Burgess, M. & Moffatt, S. (2011) 'The association between alcohol outlet density and assaults on and around licensed premises', Crime and Justice Bulletin, No. 147, Sydney: NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research.

ENDNOTE

1. While this question was asked of all respondents aged 15 years and over, data has only been published for those 18 years and over. The responses of respondents aged 15 to 17 years may have been provided by a proxy respondent (such as a parent) and as this is a perception based question it was not asked of proxies.

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