Claims about a fall in alcohol-related assault

27 February 2009

Claims that alcohol related assault rates have fallen in response to Government policy and enforcement practice are premature, according to the Director of the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research.

"The figures released to the media provide no credible support whatsoever for the proposition that the recorded rate of alcohol related assaults has fallen in response to Government policy", Dr Weatherburn said.

"Monthly assault figures are highly volatile and there is also often a long lag in reporting. We need a proper statistical analysis to make any judgements about trends in crime, not simple comparisons of January and February this year with January and February the year before".

"The other point to bear in mind is that, even if the recorded assault rate has fallen, it is entirely possible that the reason for the fall is that pubs anxious to avoid or remove restrictions on their licence have simply become less willing to report assaults to police".

"I understand how keen people are to reduce the level of alcohol-related assault. We ought not to let our desire to achieve this goal, however, get in the way of rigorous and objective analysis", Dr Weatherburn said.

Further enquiries: Dr Don Weatherburn 0419-494-408, 9231-9190