POPULATION HEALTH RESEARCH
Community-based Health Promotion and Prevention Studies (CHPPS) Group
Alcohol-related assault and licensed premises in inner-city areas
The National Drug Law Enforcement Research Fund (NDLERF) has funded CHPPS Group at James Cook University for a feasibility and establishment study (phase 1, 12 months) of a four-year prevention and evaluation study targeting alcohol-related assault.
Aims of the proposed four-year prevention and evaluation study:
In participating jurisdictions, the CHPPS team proposes to work with
local agencies and community safety groups
liquor licensees and their regulators
hospital accident and emergency (A&E) departments.
The research aims to:
1. Assist to develop and implement further targeted strategies to reduce the number of assaults occurring in each inner-city area
2. Compile and share information between collaborating agencies, especially A&E and police, about the occurrence and nature of assault episodes
3. Use this information to evaluate the effectiveness of these strategies.
One in 20 Australians (aged ≥15 years) have experienced an assault within the preceding year. Half the perpetrators and 40% of the victims are intoxicated.
A significant proportion of alcohol-related violence occurs in the vicinity of small numbers of licensed premises in inner-city areas, commonly late at night or in early morning hours and usually involving young adult males.
The violence and resulting injuries are major concerns for:
- public health and community safety
- the high cost to the health system, the community and individuals and
- the demands placed on policing resources.
Strategies can be community-driven and collaborative:
Liquor laws regulate activities on licensed premises but generally can’t regulate harms caused near and outside licensed premises.While police have a significant role in influencing the social drinking environment, collaborations between community-based organizations and police are pivotal to best-practice policing strategies.
compare the situation before and after strategies are implemented and
document the processes involved so that lessons learned about successful strategies can be considered in other places.
Strategies with multiple components can be used, targeted to suit local needs and augmenting existing strategies. By implementing strategies in a staggered fashion in each city, a decrease in the number of assaults occurring each month followed by a continuing decline in each locality would support an assertion that the community-driven strategies caused the decrease. Other factors will need to be accounted for, e.g. population change, changes in visitor numbers and a likely increase over four years in the number of licensed premises and their trading hours which would increase alcohol availability.In each inner-city locality the study will have:
a baseline phase where data collection is established and strategies developed
an intervention phase where targeted strategies are implemented
a follow-up phase where detailed assessments of targeted strategies are made
Phase 1 - feasibility and establishment phase: 2009-2010
The study’s feasibility will be assessed using information collected in interviews and focus groups.Mechanisms to compile evaluation data will be trialed and set in place.
Key information needed – quantitative information
1. To document the number of alcohol-related assaults occurring each month in each inner-city area, data from different agencies will be used.Many assault episodes will not be recorded in police data.Those injured are likely to present at the A&E.Many assault victims and perpetrators simply go home.In phase 1 the research will investigate whether it is possible to combine information from each local A&E with police and closed circuit TV information about the location, time, number of assailants etc for each assault presentation.
2. Because of the strong link between intoxication and violence, it will also be necessary to develop and trial suitable measures of alcohol use or availability in the populations exposed to the risk of assault in each locality.
Key information needed – qualitative information
We also need to know what the prospects are for information sharing and for developing prevention strategies that can work in each city.The following questions will be asked in interviews and formal consultations with police, A&E staff, liquor licensees, local safety groups, local councils etc
1. Is collaboration possible for sharing information about the nature and occurrence of assault episodes and is it possible to develop targeted strategies?
2. What strategy components should be used?
How should strategies be developed?
Who should be involved?
How should strategies be implemented?
What is their optimal timing for implementation?
Outcomes and significance of the initiatives and the research
The following outcomes are possible through this research.
Reduced costs to enforcement, health and community
Enhanced local capacity for maintaining safe communities
Data capture mechanism for ongoing monitoring of assault rates
Rigorous testing of strategies
Regular reports of progress
Progressive feedback, advice and information from public health researchers
Using this study design, the research becomes part of the process of addressing these very serious issues.
For more information contact:
Phone 07 40421656
School of Public Health, Tropical Medicine and Rehabilitation Sciences
James Cook University