Family violence is an abhorrent violation of human rights, and alcohol is a significant contributor to family violence in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). It is encouraging to see that family and intimate partner violence is rightfully a prominent issue on government agendas across Australia.

The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) welcomes the opportunity to provide a submission to the Legislative Assembly Inquiry into Domestic and Family Violence – Policy approaches and responses.

This submission draws on the literature of what is known about alcohol-related family violence. This includes evidence on the relationship between alcohol and family violence and the actions that can be taken to reduce alcohol-related family violence.

This submission makes 15 recommendations to The Inquiry on how the ACT Government should work to reduce the incidence of alcohol-related family violence; and makes the strong argument that we need a plan that addresses the harm associated with packaged liquor, and takes action on the insidious nature of alcohol marketing and the impact this is having on our children.


Recommendations

  1. Define family violence as a harm within the objects and principles of the Liquor Act 2010 by amending section 10(c) and inserting (v) family violence.
  2. Amend the Liquor Act 2010 and introduce the following restrictions to the hours that alcohol is available for sale for both on-licence premises (bars, pubs and clubs) and off-licence premises (bottle shops):
    1. Introduce last drinks of no later than 3am for on-licence venues.
    2. Limit off-licence trading hours to between 10am and 10pm.
  3. Amend the Liquor Act 2010 to introduce tighter controls on the density of liquor licences in the ACT, including:
    1. Ensuring that approval processes for new on and off-licence premises consider existing levels of alcohol harm and community views.
    2. Interventions that limit or reduce the density of liquor licences in areas with significant levels of alcohol harm through the introduction of special control zones and licence buy-backs.
  4. Strengthen enforcement and compliance of the regulations under Section 29 (1)(c)(i) of the Liquor Regulations 2010 that ban all forms of sexualised alcohol advertising and promotional material.
  5. Include provisions under regulation 29 of the Liquor Regulations 2010 that:
    1. Declare ‘shopper dockets’ (liquor promotion vouchers on the receipts for purchases) a prohibited promotional activity.
    2. Prohibit point of sale promotional materials for liquor, such as free gifts with purchase, prominent signage, competitions, price discounts for bulk purchases, and sale prices.
  6. Strengthen the current policy to prohibit the placement of alcohol promotions in public spaces, as well as on all ACT Government property not just public buses and include this as a provision under regulation 29 of the Liquor Regulations 2010.
  7. Develop and fund Models of Care between alcohol and other drug services, mental health services, intimate partner violence services, perpetrator programs and child protection services, which incorporate:
    1. Common risk assessment frameworks with a shared understanding of alcohol and family violence.
    2. Inter-sectoral and joint training between sectors.
    3. Joint guidelines and systems that facilitate information sharing about the wellbeing and safety of clients’ children between alcohol and other drug services and child protection services.
  8. Establish a swift, certain and fair pilot modelled off the 24/7 Sobriety Project and implement alongside other behaviour change, family violence and alcohol and other drug services.
  9. Evaluate current and past family violence education programs and update existing programs and resources to include alcohol’s role in family violence.
  10. Implement a territory wide school-based family violence education campaign or program that addresses attitudes and behaviours that normalise and tolerate gender-based or family violence, holds perpetrators accountable and acknowledges the role of alcohol in family violence.
  11. Update the Interactive Crime Statistics Map to include rates of family violence.
  12. Police reporting of family violence should be comprehensive and report on the type of incident, where and when it occurred and whether alcohol was involved.
  13. Ensure that plans and programs for family violence are appropriately evaluated so that they can inform future practice.
  14. The collection of alcohol sales data in the ACT should be enhanced by:
    1. Amending Part 1.5 of Schedule 1 of the Liquor Regulations 2010 to include the collection of cider sales as part of wholesale data collection.
    2. Amending Part 1.5 of the Liquor Regulations 2010 to assist licensee reporting of alcohol purchases to the Commissioner of Fair Trading by including a definition of ‘wholesaler’.
    3. Implementing the recommendations made by the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research in Understanding alcohol sales data in Australia.
  15. Establish a liquor licence tracking map, modelled on the Victorian map, with geo-located information on the incidence of alcohol harm from ambulance services and police.

Submission

View the FARE submission

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