Baird and Goward warned: bottle shop backdown risks greater family violence

The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) has called for the current state-wide 10pm bottle shop closing time to remain in place, with evidence suggesting a significant reduction in all assaults in regional New South Wales (NSW).

FARE Chief Executive Michael Thorn says Premier Mike Baird must stand firm on the bottle shop closing time if he is serious about protecting women and children from the trauma of family violence, and has called on the NSW Government to postpone any decision on packaged liquor trading to allow for the completion of a more thorough analysis of the available data.

Preliminary examination of Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) data already shows there is some evidence to suggest a statistically significant reduction in all assaults in regional NSW.

To shed further light on this measure’s effectiveness, FARE recently commissioned alcohol expert Professor Kypros Kypri from the University of Newcastle to formally assess the impact of the 10pm packaged liquor cessation of sale introduced in 2014 across NSW.

Mr Thorn says that given that reducing domestic violence is one of the Government’s 12 priorities for action, it is critical that robust analysis is undertaken to assess the impact of the measure.

“Last year, there were 8,949 incidents of domestic violence identified as being alcohol-related in New South Wales alone. In the face of such unacceptable numbers, we can and must be doing all we can to reduce those harms. Alcohol’s involvement in domestic violence is well documented and acknowledged. It is essential that Pru Goward, the Minister for Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, defends this measure to ensure that families across NSW are not put at increased risk of harm,” Mr Thorn said.

In September, former Justice The Hon Ian Callinan AC made note of the compelling “evidence, statistical and otherwise, of the association of alcohol with domestic violence” in his comprehensive final report from the NSW Independent Liquor Law Review.

Research has found that for every 10,000 additional litres of pure alcohol sold at a packaged liquor outlet, the risk of violence experienced in a residential setting is increased by 26 per cent.

Mr Thorn says it is a simple equation with devastating consequences for the women and children of NSW.

“The more takeaway alcohol sold, the greater the risk of harm. If the Premier backs down on the 10pm packaged liquor sales he will be turning his back on the women and children of New South Wales, exposing them to certain greater risk of family violence, and walking away from a commitment to make domestic violence a government priority.

“At a minimum, the NSW Government should hold off on making any changes to the current measures until a more thorough analysis of the data has been completed,” Mr Thorn said.

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