FARE makes 17 recommendations to the Royal Commission on how the Victorian Government should work to reduce the incidence of alcohol-related family violence. Key areas for recommended reform include regulating the availability and promotion of alcohol, developing comprehensive and integrated models of care, implementing programs targeted at perpetrators, educating young Victorians, and improving data collection and program evaluations.
The Royal Commission should recommend that the Victorian Government:
- 1. Amend the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 (the Act) to:
a) Introduce tighter controls on the density of liquor licences in Victoria, including:
i) Elevating harm minimisation as the only primary object of the Act.
ii) Ensuring that approval processes for new on and off-licence premises consider existing levels of alcohol-related harms and community views.
iii) Interventions that limit or reduce the density of liquor licences in areas with significant levels of alcohol-related harms through the introduction of saturation zones and licence buy-backs.
b) Introducing 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):
i) Introduce a closing time of no later than 3am for on-licence venues (with a 1am lockout).
ii) Maintain the freeze on granting new licences for trading after 1am in the local government areas of Melbourne, Port Phillip, Stonnington and Yarra.
iii) Limit off-licence trading hours to between 10am and 10pm. iv) The removal of all 24 hour liquor licences.
- Amend the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 (the Act) by:
a. Applying liquor promotion controls for on- and off-licence premises with equal weight.
b. Banning alcohol promotions from appearing on shopper dockets.
c. Restricting price-based promotions, such as bulk purchase discounts, and other promotional activities and practices which encourage the consumption of alcohol in risky volumes.
d. Prohibiting alcohol promotions and advertisements from appearing on public property.
- Build on the existing Common Risk Assessment Framework to develop a comprehensive, integrated Model of Care for alcohol-related family violence.
- Provide adequate and ongoing funding to alcohol and other drug services and family violence services to meet demand.
- Improve the Referral Protocol and Code of Practice to recognise and appropriately respond to the role of alcohol in family violence for victims and perpetrators.
- Pilot a project for perpetrators that require people arrested or convicted for alcohol-related offences to take two alcohol breath tests a day or wear a continuous alcohol monitoring bracelet with “swift, certain and modest sanctions” for people who are found to consume alcohol.
- Fund intensive programs targeted at perpetrators and ensure these programs are evaluated to inform future practice.
- Support better integration between perpetrators and alcohol and other drug (AOD) services where appropriate.
- Provide support for families of people accessing AOD or perpetrator programs to ensure their safety.
- Ensure that school-based education campaigns on respectful relationships acknowledge the role of alcohol in family violence.
- Provide adequate, ongoing funding to programs that educate school students on alcohol and respectful relationships.
- Formally evaluate school-based education campaigns on alcohol and respectful relationships to assess their effectiveness in changing negative attitudes and behaviours.
- Improve data collection on family violence and the involvement of alcohol, and publically report on this data to inform policy and research.
- Ensure that plans and programs for family violence are appropriately evaluated so that they can inform future practice.
- Enhance the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) and VicHealth’s liquor licence map further by including incidence of alcohol-related harms data, including family violence, on the map to better inform decision-making by VCGLR on future liquor licence applications.
- Include measures, statistics and data on alcohol-related family violence in the Family Violence Index.
- The Royal Commission should consider the research referred to in this submission in preparing its policy responses; further, the Royal Commission should consider asking the experts on alcohol and family violence referred to in this submission to appear before the Inquiry.