Link between alcohol outlets and assaults
A study exploring the established link between off-premise alcohol outlets and the rate of assaults and injuries in Australia has found that large bottleshops and liquor chains contribute most substantially to trauma risk.
In addition to looking at location density, the study is one of the first to examine liquor outlet characteristics in detail; with researchers assessing the price and volume of alcohol for sale and whether the store is independent or part of a chain.
Commissioned by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) the study led by Monash University assessed 295 randomly selected takeaway liquor outlets in Melbourne.
Researchers studied trauma data supplied by Ambulance Victoria for intentional injuries like assaults, stabbing and shootings, as well as unintentional injuries such as a fall or being struck by an object.
The study found that the number of off-premise outlets is positively related to both intentional and unintentional injury.
Most interesting however, was that liquor chains appeared to contribute most substantially to trauma risk in neighbourhoods, with each additional chain outlet associated with a 35.3 per cent increase in intentional injuries and a 22 per cent increase in unintentional injuries.
Larger outlets and chains sold cheaper alcohol than independent stores, with the average price of the cheapest 750 ml bottle of wine being $5.54. Outlets that sold cheaper alcohol were more likely to be located in disadvantaged areas.
Monash University lead researcher, Chris Morrison, from the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, said the study adds valuable insight into what we already know about the link between alcohol outlet density and subsequent harms.
"Previous studies have found a greater concentration of outlets licensed to sell alcohol is positively related to trauma in the nearby area. The more outlets there are, the more harm."
"What we didn't know before we undertook this research was what bearing the characteristics of the outlet have on the resulting harms. From this analysis we see clearly that alcohol chains are contributing to more assaults and injuries than independent outlets," Mr Morrison said.
FARE Chief Executive Michael Thorn says the study has important implications for licensing authorities.