The Hidden Harm: Alcohol’s impact on children and families

A new report by the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research and funded by FARE has been launched by Rosie Batty, Founder of The Luke Batty Foundation and 2015 Australian of the Year. The Hidden Harm: Alcohol’s impact on children and families examines the effects of alcohol’s reveals the full extent of alcohol-related family and domestic violence in Australia. 

The key findings from the research are that

  • Over a million children (22 per cent of all Australian children) are estimated to be affected in some way by the drinking of others, 142,582 children (3 per cent of all Australian children) are substantially affected and 10,166 (0.2 per cent of all Australian children) are already within the child protection system where a carer’s problematic drinking has been identified as a factor.
  • In 2011 there were 29,684 police-reported incidents of alcohol-related domestic violence in Australia for states and territories where data is available.
  • Half (50 per cent) of adult respondents harmed by the drinking of others in 2008 were also harmed in 2011 and 35 per cent of children harmed in 2008 continued to be harmed in 2011.

Children experience a range of harms, with the most common of these being witnessing verbal or physical conflict, or witnessing drinking or inappropriate behaviour. Children were also verbally abused, left in an unsupervised or unsafe situation, physically hurt or exposed to domestic violence because of others’ drinking.

Following the launch, FARE is hosted a Roundtable as part of a consultation process associated with a draft policy paper on preventing alcohol-related family and domestic violence.   The Policy Options Paper: Preventing alcohol-related family and domestic violence, adopts a public health approach to prevention, posing 28 policy options under four levels of prevention: primordial prevention, primary prevention, secondary prevention and tertiary prevention. FARE has developed this in consultation with stakeholders from the fields of public health, child protection and domestic violence.

The Policy Options Paper has been released as a working document and feedback is sought from stakeholders on the paper. Feedback is being sought by 31 March 2015. The Final Policy Position Paper will be released in June 2015.

Both these papers are available on the FARE website.