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Why is this important?

The most important thing is the health and safety of families and communities. But family violence, including domestic and intimate partner violence, still shatters far too many lives across Australia every year. Tragically, this violence disproportionally impacts women in our communities, and often impacts children in the family due to maltreatment and neglect.

The causes of family violence are deep rooted in our society, involving harmful cultural norms and structural inequalities. Alcohol use is not a cause or excuse for violence, but in many instances is a significant risk factor that can exacerbate family violence.

International and national evidence shows alcohol is associated with increased frequency of family violence. Data on Australian police responses to family violence incidents indicates alcohol is often reported as a risk factor, ranging between 23% and 65% of incidents. Alcohol use by perpetrators of violence is the major concern, as it can increase the severity of this violence, leading to higher rates of physical violence and injury.

Family violence incidents involving alcohol require greater attention, given that they are often ‘hidden harms’ in the home. Greater community attention and government action on this issue is a priority to keep victim survivors of family violence safe.


What do we want?

Across Australia, there is clear recognition that the prevention of family violence is a priority.  

Acknowledging the harmful role of alcohol in family violence is an important part of this wider effort to keep women and children safe. 

Controlling the availability of alcohol in the community is an important part of a holistic response to family violence prevention. For example, Australian evidence shows that increased alcohol outlets, particularly packaged liquor outlets like bottle-shops, increases rates of family violence. Therefore, we need common-sense measures to control the availability of alcohol within our communities, such as preventing areas from being saturated with alcohol outlets and restrictions on alcohol delivery into homes. 

Together we can ensure our governments take action to control alcohol availability to aid in the prevention of family violence.  

The story so far 

For several years, FARE has been drawing attention to the role of alcohol in family violence and advocating for action that will help prevent family violence. We have collaborated with organisations in this space and shared several policy recommendations in the form of submissions at various state and federal levels. 

In 2015, FARE published a report The Hidden Harm: Alcohol’s Impact on Children and Families, which revealed the full extent of alcohol-related family and domestic violence in Australia.  

The same year, FARE’s National Framework for Action to Prevent Alcohol-related Family Violence was launched by Australian of the Year Rosie Batty at Parliament House in Canberra. This framework proposed policies and programs that Australian governments can implement to have a real and tangible impact on preventing and reducing alcohol-related family violence. The Senate Committee examining domestic violence in Australia acknowledged the role of alcohol in family violence and endorsed the framework developed by FARE. 

The seriousness of alcohol’s role in family, domestic and intimate partner violence also became evident during the COVID-19 pandemic. In partnership with FARE, Women’s Safety NSW released Family Violence and Alcohol During COVID-19, a report which assessed the caseload of a range of family violence specialists in crisis support, counselling, court advocacy and supported accommodation. 

FARE continues to advocate for governments to take action on alcohol that helps prevent family violence.  

The Victorian Government is planning to implement changes to liquor laws in 2021. Community, health and family violence advocates are continuing to advocate for reforms in the liquor law to help reduce family violence, particularly by introducing sensible standards for alcohol home delivery. 

If you or someone you know needs advice or help, then please visit the following:

How can I help?

Are you or your organisation interested in this issue and happy to advocate for reform with decision-makers? Send an email to FARE’s Policy and Research Team at info@fare.org.au.

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Will you join the community taking action on alcohol?