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What's the link between alcohol and violent crime? Regular readers of the news won't be strangers to claims about the cost of alcohol to the UK economy. Regular readers of Full Fact will also know estimates involving big numbers tend to be based on stretched assumptionsoften including factors such as the emotional costs of alcohol abuse.
This morning we were greeted with a more sober perspective. Nearly 50 per cent of all violent crime is alcohol related. Offenders are thought to be under the influence of alcohol in nearly half of all incidents of domestic abuse and alcohol plays a part in 25 to 33 per cent of known child abuse cases.
Police recorded crime figures don't distinguish between offences have involved alcohol and those that don't except drink drivingso instead this is picked up by the Crime Survey for England and Wales.
The Survey asks victims of wounding, robbery and assault with or without injury whether they believed the offender s were under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It's been roughly the same proportion for the past decade. Meanwhile, a third of victims of sexual assault reported that they themselves were under the influence of alcoholat the time of the offence.
We can't rely entirely on these latter figures since sexual assaults tend to be under-reported. The Crime Survey tries to account for this by giving the victims a self-completion module on intimate violence. Domestic violence relates specifically to physical assaults by a partner, ex-partner, relative or household member.
Domestic abuse includes this, but adds in emotional and financial abuse, as well as threats. ACPO however references another source - a cross-departmental government alcohol strategy from The only reference to domestic violence or abuse here is from yet another paper - a Home Office study from a decade ago looking at case files of male domestic violence offenders.
It also found that almost half of the offenders were alcohol dependent, although this isn't actually the same thing - alcohol dependence doesn't necessarily mean offenders are under the influence of alcohol when incidents happen.
Unfortunately, we weren't able to find an online copy of the report, but we're in touch with the NSPCC about tracking down a copy, and will update when we know more. At this stage, all we can say is that the stats are quite dated, having been produced over a decade ago.
The report isn't actually the original source of the claim, as it in turn cites a publication: Figures from the s and 80s are too dated to tell us much. Isn't it nice to have the whole picture? We are currently at - please help Full Fact grow.
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