ALAC Welcomes Focus Of Alcohol As Cause Of Crime

The Alcohol Advisory Council (ALAC) has welcomed the Government’s commitment to look at the drivers of crime and in particular the role of alcohol.

ALAC Welcomes Focus Of Alcohol As Cause Of Crime

PRESS RELEASE

27 FEBRUARY 2009

The Alcohol Advisory Council (ALAC) has welcomed the Government’s commitment to look at the drivers of crime and in particular the role of alcohol.

Justice Minister Simon Power yesterday announced he would be holding a meeting in April with a range of organisations to build consensus around the need to address the drivers of crime and in particular how to stop it from happening in the first place.

The minister said without wanting to prejudge the outcome of that process, he had already signalled a couple of priority areas for work, one of which was alcohol.

ALAC Chief Executive Officer Gerard Vaughan said the link between alcohol and crime was well documented.

“Alcohol misuse impacts heavily on the criminal justice system in terms of alcohol involvement in criminal offending but also impacts in many other areas such as policing in terms of street fights, criminal damage, family violence, drink driving, police having to take drunk people home or putting them into custody for their own protection, through to the costs imposed on our hospital system, the lost productivity, the lost years of life through abuse to its impact on relationships and families.’’

Mr Vaughan said alcohol misuse also impacted on communities’ perception of their safety, with people afraid to venture through some towns at night because of the fear of drunken assaults.

There were also the second-hand effects of alcohol misuse as demonstrated by an Otago university study.

They found that second hand effects due to alcohol were more common than had been expected with 84 percent of the survey respondents reporting one or more of the effects. Women were slightly more likely to report an effect (85 percent) than were men (81 percent). The most commonly reported effects were disrupted sleep or study; having to take care of a drunk person; being insulted or humiliated.

“This has defined what many people already discuss anecdotally – drinking to intoxication causes problems not just for the person but for those around them. Although this particular survey group was tertiary students, we know that these effects would be similar for many in the general population.’’

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