Position paper

In the lead up to the 2 July 2016 election, the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) is calling on all major political parties to address alcohol’s hidden harm.

The impact of alcohol on the community can be devastating and far reaching. Alcohol use contributes to death, violence on our streets, injuries and hospitalisations. These harms are well known.

What is often overlooked is the impact that alcohol has on children and families. Alcohol use leads to children being verbally abused, left unsupervised or in unsafe situations, being physically hurt, exposed to domestic violence and ending up in the child protection system. Alcohol is also a significant contributor to domestic violence.

All children should have a safe, supportive and caring environment so that they can fully contribute to the community as they grow. While this should be the norm in any country, we are currently failing our children on many levels.

While the extent of alcohol harms and their impact on families and communities is significant, this is not a problem without solutions.

Responding to these harms has a clear and well understood evidence-base. Action is needed at the community, family and individual level. We need to change the environment if we are going to make a meaningful difference to the lives of the children and families affected by alcohol. Most of all, we need political leadership to facilitate this change.

FARE's election platform, Hidden harm: Targeting alcohol’s impact on children and families, provides Australia’s political representatives with a plan for action. It highlights Australia’s concern about alcohol and the strong support among voters for meaningful action to address those concerns and better protect our young people.

FARE is calling for action in five areas:

  • Prevent alcohol-related family violence.
  • Protect children from alcohol advertising and sponsorship.
  • Prevent, diagnose and manage Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD).
  • Conduct a nation-wide public education campaign on alcohol.
  • Reform alcohol tax and develop a funding-base for preventing alcohol harms.
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