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Measuring Alcohol 'Harm' - NFP Report

25 August 2010 at 1:48 pm
Staff Reporter
New Not for Profit research shows that young people are the greatest victims of other people's drinking.

Staff Reporter | 25 August 2010 at 1:48 pm


Measuring Alcohol 'Harm' - NFP Report
25 August 2010 at 1:48 pm

Young people are the greatest victims of other people's drinking according to new Not for Profit research.

The new research report commissioned by the Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Foundation (AER Foundation) reveals that young Australians bear the brunt of the negative effects of the drinking of others, with young women suffering the most from the drinking of people they have a close relationship with.

According to The Range and Magnitude of Alcohol’s Harm to Others report, more than one-quarter of adults surveyed said they were negatively affected by the drinking of someone they knew and over 70% were affected by strangers. In the younger demographic, people aged 18-29 years were three times more likely to be affected by the drinking of someone they knew compared with people aged 60 years and over, and they were also twice as likely to be affected by strangers.

While young adults are among the greatest contributors to alcohol-related street disturbances, they are also overrepresented as victims of other people’s drinking.

The report shows that 22,000 children suffer alcohol-related child abuse every year, one person loses their life every day because of someone else’s drinking and almost half the population is affected by the behaviour of drunken strangers over the course of a year.

AER Foundation Director Professor Ian Webster say the research reveals that young people are one of the most vulnerable groups in the community when it comes to the impact of others’ drinking.

Prof Webster says much more needs to be done to support our young people, particularly young women, to prevent them from being negatively affected by our current problematic drinking culture.

As part of the report, the Alcohol’s Harm to Others survey also found that people aged 18-29 years were more likely than those aged 30-59, and 60 plus, to experience harm from the drinking of strangers by:

  • Being forced or pressured into sexual activity
  • Being physically abused
  • Encountering trouble or noise related to a licensed venue
  • Having to avoid drunk people or places where drinkers are known to hang out
  • Being involved in a traffic accident
  • Being verbally abused and threatened
  • Getting into a serious argument
  • Feeling unsafe in a public place and public transport
  • Having their property damaged or their personal belongings damaged

In general, over three quarters of both men and women aged 18-29 years who had been adversely affected in the last year by the drinking of a family member or friend reported having to spend time looking after the person in one way or another (cleaning up after them, driving them somewhere, caring for them or their children).

The survey found that in particular, young women aged 18-29 years who lived with a drinker were more likely to report having to care for this person because of their drinking than men in the same situation (46% versus 31%).

The report follows a national survey completed in 2008 of more than 2,600 Australians aged 18 years or older conducted by Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre and is described as the first attempt to value the harm to others associated with drinking in Australia.

The Alcohol Education & Rehabilitation Foundation (AER) is an independent, Not for Profit organisation with a goal to change Australia's drinking culture, collaborating with grass-roots community organisations, all levels of government, police, researchers and the private sector.

A copy of the report can be downloaded via the AER Foundation website

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