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CJB218

Author Neil Donnelly
Published November 2018
Report Type Crime and Justice Bulletin No. 218
Subject Alcohol; Assault; Offenders; Statistical methods and modelling
Keywords Alcohol, emergency department presentations, assault, persons of interest, time series analyses, ARIMA

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Summary

Aim

To examine the association between risky alcohol use and police proceedings for assault.

Method

Alcohol-related emergency department (ED) data were obtained from NSW Health for males and females aged 13-17, 18-24 and 25-64 years. Data on persons of interest (POIs) proceeded against for assault or use/possess amphetamines were obtained from NSW police for the same age/gender groups. Time series analyses were conducted using monthly data from 2004 through 2016. Within each age/gender group, regression modelling predicted the number of persons proceeded against for assault using alcohol-related ED presentations at various lags as a predictor. Persons proceeded against for use/possess amphetamines was used as a covariate as this could be a competing explanation for changes in the incidence of assault POIs.

Results

The relationship between alcohol-related ED presentations and the number of persons proceeded against by the police for assault varied by age group and gender. Among 13-17 year old males each 10 additional alcohol-related ED presentations was associated with: 4.1 additional persons proceeded against for assault during the same month and 4.5 additional persons two months later. Among 18-24 year old males, each 10 additional alcohol-related ED presentations was associated with 5.9 additional assault POIs during the same month and 8.2 additional assault POIs one month later. Among 25-64 year old males the same sized increase in alcohol-related ED presentations was associated with 5.4 additional assault POIs during the same month. Alcohol-related ED data predicted the decline since 2009 in 13-17 year old male persons who were proceeded against for assault. It also predicted the increase which occurred among 25-64 year old males proceeded against for assault from 2004-2009 and from 2012-2016. The relationship between alcohol-related ED presentations and persons proceeded against for assault was much smaller for females compared with males. While no relationship was found for females aged 13-17 years, significant effects were found for the two older age groups. Among females aged 18-24 years an increase in the number of alcohol-related ED presentations by 10 was associated with persons proceeded against for assault increasing by 1.5 during the same month. For females aged 25-64 years, an increase in the number of alcohol-related ED presentations by 10 was associated with 2.4 more assault POIs during the same month and 1.8 more during the next month. The increase in alcohol-related ED presentations for females aged 25-64 predicted the increase in persons proceeded against for assault which occurred for this group from 2004-2009 and from 2013-2016.

Conclusion

Violence arising from risky alcohol use imposes a substantial burden on police and the court system.

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