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.
- 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.
- 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):
- Introduce last drinks of no later than 3am for on-licence venues.
- Limit off-licence trading hours to between 10am and 10pm.
- Amend the Liquor Act 2010 to introduce tighter controls on the density of liquor licences in the ACT, including:
- Ensuring that approval processes for new on and off-licence premises consider existing levels of alcohol harm and community views.
- 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.
- 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.
- Include provisions under regulation 29 of the Liquor Regulations 2010 that:
- Declare ‘shopper dockets’ (liquor promotion vouchers on the receipts for purchases) a prohibited promotional activity.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- Common risk assessment frameworks with a shared understanding of alcohol and family violence.
- Inter-sectoral and joint training between sectors.
- 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.
- 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.
- Evaluate current and past family violence education programs and update existing programs and resources to include alcohol’s role in family violence.
- 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.
- Update the Interactive Crime Statistics Map to include rates of family violence.
- 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.
- Ensure that plans and programs for family violence are appropriately evaluated so that they can inform future practice.
- The collection of alcohol sales data in the ACT should be enhanced by:
- 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.
- 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’.
- Implementing the recommendations made by the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research in Understanding alcohol sales data in Australia.
- 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.