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Hospitals and Police will be working hard this summer

Full report: Alcohol-related emergency department (ED) presentations and persons of interest proceeded against by police for assault (pdf, 905Kb)

Release date: 10.30am, Tuesday 18 December, 2018


New research by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) shows that violence arising from risky alcohol use imposes a substantial burden on police and the court system.

Among 13-17 year old males, each 10 additional alcohol-related ED presentations is associated with 4.1 additional arrests for assault during the same month and 4.5 additional arrests two months later.

Among 18-24 year old males, each 10 additional alcohol-related ED presentations was associated with 5.9 additional arrests for assault during the same month and 8.2 additional arrests for assault one month later.

Among 25-64 year old males the same sized increase in alcohol-related ED presentations was associated with 5.4 additional arrests for assault during the same month.

The relationship between alcohol-related ED presentations and arrests for assault was much smaller for young females compared with males but still significant for females aged 18-24 years and females aged 25-64 years.

The relationship between alcohol-related ED presentations and assault is so strong that alcohol-related ED data predicted the decline since 2009 in arrests for assault among 13-17 year old males and the increase among 25-64 year old males between 2004 and 2009 and between 2012 and 2016.

The report shows that the Christmas/New Year period is one of the worst times for risky alcohol use and violence.

Commenting on the findings, the Executive Director of BOCSAR said that, while the association between alcohol consumption and crime was well known, no Australian study to date had looked at the relationship between risky alcohol abuse and arrests for violence.

This research underscores the point that information routinely collected by NSW Health is critical in understanding the demand for criminal justice resources.

Further enquiries: Dr Don Weatherburn 8346 1100
Copies of the report: www.bocsar.nsw.gov.au