The aim of the current study is to assess the individual and collective impact of community interventions on indicators of alcohol-related assaults in the Geelong region.
Alcohol has consistently been demonstrated to increase levels of aggression and violence, particularly in late night licensed venues. Since 2005, the City of Geelong in Australia has implemented a substantial number of interventions to reduce alcohol related violence, including a liquor accord, increased police surveillance, ID scanners, CCTV, a radio network and an alcohol industry sponsored social marketing campaign. The aim of the current study is to assess the individual and collective impact of community interventions on indicators of alcohol-related assaults in the Geelong region.
This paper reports stage one findings from the Dealing with Alcohol-related problems in the Night-time Economy project (DANTE) and specifically examines assault rate data from both emergency department presentations, ICD-10 classification codes, and police records of assaults. None of the interventions were associated with reductions in alcohol-related assault or intoxication in Geelong, either individually or when combined. However, the alcohol industry sponsored social marketing campaign ‘Just Think’ was associated with an increase in assault rates.
Community level interventions appeared to have had little effect on assault rates during high alcohol times. It is also possible that social marketing campaigns without practical strategies are associated with increased assault rates. The findings also raise questions about whether interventions should be targeted at reducing whole-of-community alcohol consumption.