Alcohol/Drug-Involved Family Violence in Australia


Monograph no. 68

Peter Miller, Elise Cox, Beth Costa, Richelle Mayshak, Arlene Walker, Shannon Hyder, Lorraine Tonner, Andrew Day

Alcohol/Drug-Involved Family Violence in Australia (ADIVA) primarily sought to determine the relationships between alcohol and other drug (AOD) use and family and domestic violence (FDV) in the general population. The project also investigated the role that demographic, social, and environmental factors play in the occurrence and severity of FDV, and the major trends in FDV in relation to incidents attended by police across the states and territories of Australia. The report utilised data from an Australia wide personal safety survey, and police attendance data. Findings from the panel survey show that alcohol was involved in 34 percent of intimate partner violence (IPV) incidents, and 29 percent of family violence (FV) incidents. Thirteen percent of IPV and 12 percent of FV incidents were drug-related (i.e. consumed by someone involved in the incident). Physical violence occurred at more than 57 percent of alcohol-related IPV and 52 percent of FV incidents; and at 60 percent of drug-related IPV incidents, and half of drug-related FV incidents. Alcohol-related IPV incidents were more likely to result in either a physical (34.4%) or psychological injury (20.6%) compared with those that did not involve alcohol (19.6% physical; 13% psychological). Almost double the proportion of drug-related IPV incidents resulted in a physical injury (43%) compared with drug-unrelated incidents (22%). More than half of the alcohol consumed during IPV incidents was purchased between 500 m and 10 km from the incident location. Supermarkets were the most frequent place of purchase. In police-attended incidents, FDV offenders were predominantly male, and victims predominantly female. Male victims accounted for 11 to 37 percent of victims in incidents attended by police, and in the panel survey—24 percent of IPV victims and 34 percent of FV victims. This report demonstrates the many different types of family and domestic violence, and how important it is to understand the factors influencing different forms of violence. Alcohol and drug use plays a substantial role in FDV for many people, at a range of developmental stages, and also as situational influences. Interventions that address AOD use in repeat offenders are indicated. Key challenges include the intergenerational nature of the cycle of violence, and the devastating impact it has on children in families who suffer such violence.