As we welcome in the new year, the team at FARE would like to take a moment to reflect on the past year in alcohol policy and to recognise the many achievements of these last 12 months.
During January, we’ll be showcasing some of the best pieces published on Drink Tank, Australia’s conversation space about alcohol, in 2016.
Today, in the last post of the series, we’re focusing on alcohol’s role in family violence.
FARE’s 2015 report The hidden harm: Alcohol’s impact on children and families revealed the full extent of alcohol-related family and domestic violence in Australia.
In June that year, FARE launched a National framework for action to prevent alcohol-related family violence with Australian of the Year Rosie Batty – proposing policies and programs that Australian governments can implement which will have a real and tangible impact on preventing and reducing alcohol-related family violence.
Much has been achieved, but Australia’s work in addressing family violence does not stop here and FARE continues to passionately advocate for strategies to address alcohol’s role and make women and children’s lives safer. We’ve summarised some of the key commentary below.
“There is significant capacity for the AOD and FDV sectors to work more collaboratively to better support clients with complex needs. The time has come to wake the sleeping giant to safely and responsibly take action.” Professor Ann Roche, Director of the National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA) at Flinders University, tackles the issue of identifying and responding to victims of family and domestic violence in alcohol and other drug settings.
FARE’s 2016 Election Platform focused on five key policy areas to stop the harm from alcohol, including the urgent need to prevent alcohol-related family violence. In the lead up to the 2016 Federal Election, FARE called for commitments to develop shared models of care for alcohol and other drug (AOD) and family violence services to work collaboratively; additional training and funding for AOD services to implement family-centred practice; and to pilot a perpetrator program based on South Dakota’s 24/7 Sobriety Project to target repeat offenders of alcohol-related family violence.
A special report by The Guardian’s Gay Alcorn asks the question: is gender inequality the root cause of domestic violence? In this edited extract, Professor Peter Miller, principal research fellow and co-director of the violence prevention group at Deakin University, and FARE Chief Executive, Michael Thorn discuss alcohol’s role in family violence and reflect on why causal factors such as alcohol continue to be ignored.
Since domestic violence has been placed on the national agenda, it has become increasingly difficult to keep on ignoring this issue. Professor Ross Fitzgerald says it’s well and truly time that we started to take seriously the often pivotal role that alcohol plays in domestic violence.