In recent years, Australian governments have committed to taking action to reduce family violence. This is exemplified by the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022 (National Plan), the first time that governments committed to coordinated action. Australian governments have also undertaken to protect children through the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2020: Protecting Children is Everyone’s Business.
Governments should be congratulated for taking these steps towards addressing family violence. However, these plans rarely consider alcohol and its contribution to family violence. Most also stop well short of outlining specific actions to reduce alcohol-related family violence and none include a focus on primary prevention initiatives that target the physical availability, economic availability or promotion of alcohol. This is a significant failing of Australia’s response to family violence to date and needs to change.
This National framework for action to prevent alcohol-related family violence (Framework) is that change. The Framework focuses on this crucial gap by highlighting why action must be taken to prevent alcohol-related family violence.
The Framework proposes policies and programs that Australian governments can implement which will have a real and tangible impact on preventing and reducing alcohol-related family violence.
Alcohol’s involvement in family violence
Alcohol is a significant contributor to family violence in Australia. In just one year (2011) there were 29,684 incidents of alcohol-related family violence in New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
Alcohol-related family violence accounts for between 23 per cent and 65 per cent of all family violence incidents reported to police. Between 2002-03 and 2011-12, 36 per cent of perpetrators of intimate partner homicides used alcohol. Alcohol is also implicated in 15 to 47 per cent of child protection cases.
Overview of the Framework priority areas
The Framework puts forward 20 actions to prevent alcohol-related family violence across four priority areas. These policies and programs have been developed following an extensive review of the evidence and consultation with experts from the family violence, child protection and public health sectors. The Framework uses a public health model of prevention as its foundation and clearly identifies areas for action in each priority area to guide the work to be undertaken by Australian governments.
- Introduce whole of community action to prevent family violence.
- Assist people most at risk of family violence through early identification and support.
- Provide support for people affected by family violence and protect them from future harm.
- Continue to build the evidence-base by investing in data collection and evaluation.
Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE).
Coverage of the launch event