Alcohol – Where’s the Harm? Conference, 9.30am, Royal College of Physicians
One in 11 report they or a family member assaulted by someone under the influence of alcohol in past year
New research from alcohol charity shows 50% of people have experienced some of alcohol-related intimidation, threat or violence in the past year
One in 11 people report they or a member of their family has been assaulted over the past year by someone under the influence of alcohol – with half saying they have not reported the assault to the Garda. Meanwhile 50 % of people stated they had experienced some form of alcohol-related intimidation, threat or violence in the past year.
Alcohol Action Ireland – the national charity for alcohol-related issues – commissioned leading market research company Behaviour and Attitudes to survey people on their experiences of alcohol-related harm in the community as part of their Alcohol – Where’s the Harm? conference which is being opened by Minister Roisin Shortall in the Royal College of Physicians this morning.
Alcohol Action Ireland Director Fiona Ryan said: “Just under half, 45% of people said they had gone out of their way to avoid drunk people or places where people drinking were known to hang out. Almost one in five said they felt unsafe while waiting for or using public transport because of someone else’s drinking while 22% said they felt unsafe in any other public place because of someone else’s drinking.
“One in eight reported being verbally abused because of someone else’s drinking while another one in eight said they had been involved in a serious argument because of someone else’s drinking. These findings raise serious questions about the high levels of tolerance we have for living with the consequences of alcohol-related harm both on an individual, community and society level. What is even more alarming is that this is the public face of alcohol-related harm and crime albeit with worryingly low levels of reporting to Gardai.
“These figures combined with the recent findings of the Health Research Board showing massive increases in the number of people seeking treatment for alcohol problems indicate we have a real problem with alcohol on an individual, family and community level. Yet we continue to sell alcohol at pocket money prices with women able to reach their maximum low-risk weekly drinking limits for €7 and a man for €10.
“If we’re serious about tackling alcohol-related harm then we need to tackle pricing and availability – Minister Shortall has announced that she is actively considering minimum pricing – a floor price beneath which alcohol cannot be sold. From talking with gardai, community representatives and elected officials that change could not come quickly enough. As part of this survey, people were asked if they would favour minimum pricing for alcohol, 55% said yes showing popular support for this measure because people are living with the reality of widely available cheap alcohol.”
Ms Ryan said it was important that alcohol-related harm and crime wasn’t just defined by what happens on the streets or in public.
“Of equal or even more concern due to its “hidden” nature, is the harm that goes on behind closed doors – which is why our conference today also focuses on not only street and public order crime but sexual and domestic violence as well.
“To be clear, no one is saying alcohol causes sexual or domestic violence but alcohol can have a facilitative role and we shouldn’t be afraid because of the complexities involved to name that and explore what it means for the individual, families and communities. It is to the great credit of the speakers here from the Rape Crisis Network Ireland, Safe Ireland and MOVE – men overcoming violence that they are engaging with this discussion.”
- One in 11 (9%) said they or a member of their family had been assaulted over the past year by someone under the influence of alcohol; while half said they had not reported the assault to the Gardai
- 45% said they had gone out of their way to avoid drunk people or places where drinkers are known to hang out
- 22% said they felt unsafe in any other public place because of someone else’s drinking
- 21% said they had been kept awake at night or disturbed because of someone else’s drinking
- 18% said they had experienced trouble or noise because of drinkers at a licensed venue
- 18% said they felt unsafe while waiting for or using public transport because of someone else’s drinking
- 12% said they had been verbally abused because of someone else’s drinking
- 12% said they had been involved in a serious argument because of someone else’s drinking
- 8% said they had been threatened because of someone else’s drinking
- 1% said they had been involved in a traffic accident because of someone else’s drinking
Alcohol – Where’s the Harm? Conference, Royal College of Physicians, Dublin 2
Tuesday, 15 November 9.30am registration, 10am start
For more information contact: Cliona Murphy 087 219 5723 or (01) 878 0610
Note to the editor: survey methodology and scope
- This report details the findings from a National Survey undertaken for Alcohol Action Ireland on the harm and damage caused by other people’s drinking.
- 1,001 adults aged 16+ were interviewed by telephone as part of Behaviour & Attitudes September TeleBarometer survey. Demographic quotas, to reflect the known distribution of the adult population in respect of sex, age, social class, region and area of residence were used. Fieldwork was undertaken between 13- 20 September 2011.
- The questionnaire covers different aspects of alcohol-related harm including the incidence of alcohol related property damage, as well as its perceived cost and frequency, before going on to explore the prevalence of alcohol related violence, intimidation and so forth.
- In advance of addressing the questionnaire to respondents, the preamble ‘I would now like to ask you about your community and anti-social behaviour’ was read to respondents. It was considered important that the respondent understood than the focus was upon ‘harm in the community’ (as opposed to possible in-home aspects).