Alcohol-related assaults hospitalise 10,000 Australians a year

More than 10,000 Australians were hospitalised in a single year due to alcohol-attributable assault, new research conducted by the National Drug Research Institute has found. The National Alcohol Indicators Project (NAIP) found an estimated 10,360 Australians aged 15 and over – an average of 200 people each week – were hospitalised in 2012/13 because of injuries attributed to alcohol-related assault.

NAIP Bulletin 15, Trends in estimated alcohol-attributable assault hospitalisations in Australia 2003/04 to 2012/13, showed that in 2012/13 four states – Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory – recorded rates above the national average with New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory all below the national average across all age groups.

The 4-page bulletin, which includes national and state graphs, is available on NDRI’s website. It was also revealed that in 2012/13:

  • Men accounted for almost three-quarters (71%) of hospitalisations due to assault attributed to alcohol
  • Men aged 15-29 comprised about half (47%) of all male alcohol-attributable assault hospitalisations
  • Alcohol-attributable assault rates among 15-19 and 20-29 year old men were at least 2 times higher than for the general population (everybody aged 15+ years).

"More than 10,000 Australians are still ending up in hospital each year because of alcohol-attributable violence," said NDRI Alcohol Policy Team Leader Professor Tanya Chikritzhs.

"The NAIP research does show a slight decline in the national trend in hospitalisations due to assault attributed to alcohol since about 2008, which is in keeping with downward trends in national per capita alcohol consumption. This may be due to a combination of tighter economic times and changes to alcohol taxation and pricing of some beverages, such as the so-called ‘alcopops tax’.

"Nevertheless, alcohol-related assault remains a significant cost to our health system and our community, showing we still have a long way to go in striking a healthy balance between enjoying a drink and reducing the harm that alcohol causes Australian society," Professor Chikritzhs said.

Posted on: 1 Oct 2016

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