Domestic violence is a serious public health issue in the U.S. Statistics suggest as many as one in four women will be the victim of physical and/or sexual abuse at the hands of an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime. Because alcohol use is a known risk factor for domestic violence, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention collected data from studies all over the globe that analyzed the relationship between alcohol-related policies and the number of reported instances of domestic violence.
The three policies studied include alcohol outlet density, hours and days of sale, and pricing and taxation of alcohol. Alcohol outlet density refers to the number of locations where alcohol can be purchased in a particular area. The studies differentiated the locations as on-premise establishments, such as bars and restaurants, and off-premise retailers, such as packaged liquor stores, grocery, or convenience stores.
After controlling for neighborhood characteristics, such as poverty rate, racial/ethnic composition, and unemployment rate, higher alcohol outlet density did appear to be associated with higher rates of domestic violence. However, there were inconsistent findings that the type of outlet, whether on-premise or off-premise, had any impact on domestic violence rates.
The researchers also looked at studies that examine the effect of limiting the days or hours that alcohol can be purchased and found them to be promising strategies for reducing the consumption of alcohol. However, very few of these studies suggest any impact on rates of violence in general, and there are currently no studies regarding the policies’ impact on rates of domestic violence.
Similarly, there is evidence to suggest that higher pricing/taxation on alcohol also may reduce consumption, but there is little to no evidence that it has any impact on rates of domestic violence. Though these and other alcohol policies are designed to limit excessive alcohol consumption, there is reason to believe that they may have the potential to affect other alcohol-related problems such as drunk driving, accidental injuries, and aggressive behavior, including domestic violence. The authors of the study call for the need for more extensive research into the effect alcohol policies have on these and other problems.
While alcohol abuse does not cause domestic violence, there is a strong statistical correlation between the two issues. In fact, alcohol abuse is one of the leading risk factors for domestic violence. Furthermore, incidents of battery tend to be more severe when the perpetrator has been drinking in excess.
If you have been the victim of domestic violence, seek help immediately. The caring and compassionate Baltimore domestic violence lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC, are committed to the safety and well-being of our clients. For a free and confidential consultation, call our Baltimore divorce lawyers in our Hunt Valley family law office today at 443-589-0150 or contact us online. We handle divorce and family law matters for residents living in Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Towson, Bel Air, Columbia and Westminster.