Tackling Scotland's Alcohol Problem

Alcohol-related violence and deprivation

Alcohol-related violence and deprivation

Read the event report for Dr Carly Lightowlers and Lucy Bryant's webinar on alcohol-related violence and deprivation.

Alcohol is linked to a substantial amount and array of crime, yet little has been known about how alcohol-related violence and anti-social behaviour (ASB) victimisation are spread across socio-economic status (SES) groups. Using data from the Crime Survey for England & Wales, Bryant and Lightowlers explored prevalence and incidence of different types of violence (domestic/stranger/acquaintance) by SES (income/housing/occupation) and evaluated if SES remains a risk factor for alcohol-related violence when other known risk factors are accounted for. Stark inequalities are seen, as highlighted in the event report. The inequalities in alcohol-related violence suggest an underlying structural problem. Price and availability interventions offer great hope, particularly minimum unit pricing (MUP). There is also a need to reassess criminal justice policy: most of the inequalities found lie in domestic and acquaintance violence, which likely requires a shift in focus from the night-time economy.

With other colleagues, Lightowlers undertook research on the extent to which deprivation and alcohol availability independently drive trends in violence, and also whether or not deprivation moderates (whether it amplifies or dampens) the effect of availability on violent crime. Key findings include substantial variation between areas in violent crime, with increasing inequalities between areas over time, and higher recorded violent crime in areas with increased deprivation and alcohol availability (particularly for on-licensed trade, e.g. bars/clubs). Deprivation had a stronger contribution to violent crime than alcohol availability and deprivation amplified the effect of on-licensed availability on violent crime. The positive association between alcohol availability and violent crime suggests restricting availability should reduce violent crime, and licensing decisions should take outlet density and deprivation profiles into account.

Overall, these two research studies demonstrate that deprivation is an important contextual factor in alcohol-related violence at both the area- and individual-level. The structural drivers of socio-economic deprivation should be tackled to ameliorate alcohol-related violence.

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Created Date: 20th Apr 2021
Last Updated: 20th Apr 2021

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