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1 W H O F A C T S O N ... A L C O H O L V I O L E N C E + Intimate partner violence and alcohol Imate partner v refers to any behaviour within Int Iolence an intimate relationship that causes physical, psychological or sex -­ ual harm to those in that relationship. It includes acts of physical aggression (slapping, hitting, kicking or beating), psychological abuse -­ (intimidation, constant belittling or humiliation), forced sexual inter course or any other controlling behaviour (isolating a person from family and friends, monitoring their movements and restricting access Alcohol consumption, especially at (1). to information or assistance) 1 is a major contributor to the occur harmful and hazardous levels -­ rence of intimate partner violence and links between the two are manifold. This fact sheet details what is known about the role of alco -­ hol in shaping the extent and impact of intimate partner violence, factors that increase the risk of becoming a victim or perpetrator, and the role of public health in prevention. Hazardous 1 Harmful use is defined as a pattern of alcohol use that causes damage to health. use is defined as a pattern of alcohol use that increases the risk of harmful consequences for the user ( World Health Organization, http://www.who.int/substance_abuse/terminology/ / ). who _lexicon/en 1

2 Links between alcohol use and intimate partner violence -­ Strong links have been found between alcohol use and the occur rence of intimate partner violence in many countries. Evidence suggests that alcohol use increases the occurrence and severity of (6,7,8). domestic violence Alcohol consumption as a direct cause either of intimate partner violence has often been contested (9) on the basis of additional factors (e.g. low socio-­economic sta -­ tus, impulsive personality) accounting for the presence of both, or because frequent heavy drinking can create an unhappy, stressful -­ partnership that increases the risk of conflict and violence. How ever, evidence is available to support relationships between alcohol and intimate partner violence that include: Alcohol use directly affects cognitive and physical function, • reducing self -­control and leaving individuals less capable of -­violent resolution to conflicts within relation negotiating a non -­ . (10) ships Excessive drinking by one partner can exacerbate financial dif -­ • ficulties, childcare problems, infidelity (11) or other family Extent of intimate partner violence BoX 1: -­ Most reported intimate partner vio studies to report comparable data, lence is perpetrated by men towards (Japan) and shows that between 15% . However, violence is also (1) 71% (Ethiopia) of women reported women -­ experiencing physical and sexual vio committed by women towards men and within same sex relationships lence by an intimate partner over their () . Variations in methodologies and lifetime, and between 3.8% (Japan) (3) -­ definitions of violence between sur and 53% (Ethiopia) as experiencing -­ veys make the extent of intimate part such violence within the past year. In ner violence and differences between a survey of 4,000 men and women countries hard to estimate. How -­ in Canada, 7% of women and 6% of -­country study on men reported having been victims of ever, the WHO multi women’s health and domestic violence intimate partner violence in the last against women (4) , one of the few (5). five years 

3 stressors. This can create marital tension and conflict, increas -­ (1 ) . ing the risk of violence occurring between partners • Individual and societal beliefs that alcohol causes aggression can encourage violent behaviour after drinking and the use of (13) . alcohol as an excuse for violent behaviour • Experiencing violence within a relationship can lead to alcohol (14) . consumption as a method of coping or self -­medicating Children who witnesses violence or threats of violence between • parents are more likely to display harmful drinking patterns (15) . later in life Magnitude of alcohol-related intimate partner violence -­ Studies of intimate partner violence routinely identify recent con sumption of alcohol by perpetrators. Estimates vary between countries. In the United States of America, and in England and Wales, victims believed their partners to have been drinking prior (16) to a physical assault in 55% % (17) of cases respec -­ and 3 tively. In Australia, 36% of intimate partner homicide offenders were under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident (18) , while in Russia, 10.5% of such offenders were intoxicated (19) In . South Africa, 65% of women experiencing spousal abuse within last 1  months reported that their partner always or sometimes (0) . Other countries where strong used alcohol before the assault links between perpetrator drinking and intimate partner vio -­ lence have been found include India (1) , Uganda ( ) , Vietnam (1 ) , and Zimbabwe (3) . Furthermore, a multi-­country study in  Chile, Egypt, India and the Philippines identified regular alco -­ hol consumption by the husband or partner as a risk factor for any lifetime physical intimate partner violence across all four study countries (4) . Alcohol consumption in victims of intimate partner violence has also been shown, although at a lower level than in perpetrators.  Alcohol use was categorised as: non -­drinker, drink but not to excess, occasional drinker and regular drinker, although categories were not defined further. 3

4 For example, a Swiss study indicated that victims had been under the influence of alcohol in over 9% of incidents of intimate part -­ (5) , while in ner violence (compared with 33% of perpetrators) Iceland,  % of female domestic violence victims reported using alcohol following the event as a mechanism for coping (6) . Risk factors for alcohol-related intimate partner violence A number of individual, relationship and societal factors can exac -­ erbate the association between alcohol use and violence. For perpetrators, heavier, more frequent drinking increases the risk of violence and there is some evidence that problem drinkers (7, 8), are at increased risk of victimization . Having only fair or poor (8) -­occur with problematic alcohol mental health has been found to co 3 use as a risk factor for violent offending (9) , and heavy drinking is more strongly associated with severe intimate partner violence among men with antisocial personality disorder (30) . Having an expectation that drinking alcohol will lead to aggressive behaviour increases the risk of committing violence towards a partner , (13) while relationship dissatisfaction can strengthen the links between problem drinking and partner violence (the USA) (31) -­ . Some evi dence suggests that differences in alcohol consumption between partners are also important and couples where only one partner drinks excessively are more likely to experience alcohol -­related arguments and physical violence (the USA) (3 ) . Societal beliefs about alcohol consumption, gender roles and vio -­ lent behaviour can also affect the risk of alcohol -­related partner violence. For instance, in some societies, both heavy drinking and violent behaviours towards female partners are associated with masculinity (7) . Moreover, in South Africa, beliefs that alcohol facilitates aggression have led to drinking so that individuals can carry out violence perceived to be socially expected (33) . Equally, societal beliefs that a victim’s drinking is a cause of violence may in some cultures be seen as a mitigating factor, while in others 3 As perceived by the victim. 4

5 alcohol -­related violence can increase the blame and punishment (34) . metered out to the offender Impact -­ranging. For The impacts of intimate partner violence are wide the victim, health effects include physical injury (which for some women may lead to pregnancy complications or miscarriage), emo -­ tional problems leading to suicide, suicidal ideation and depression, In severe and alcohol or drug abuse as a method of coping (1). cases, the injuries sustained from intimate partner violence can be fatal, and in the US around 11% of all homicides between 1976 and (35) . Intimate 00  were committed by an intimate partner partner violence is more severe and more likely to result in physical (8). injury when the perpetrator has consumed alcohol Related social problems often affect victims’ relationships with family, friends and future intimate partners as well as their ability to work or attend school . Furthermore, children who wit -­ (36) ness violence (including threats of violence) between their parents are more likely to develop violent and delinquent behaviours during childhood (37) and heavy drinking patterns or alcohol dependence later in life (15) , increasing their risk of becoming perpetrators of violence. BOX : E conomic costs of intimate partner violence The economic costs of partner violence include those to health care and judicial systems, refuge and lost earnings. Estimated costs for selected countries are: United States: US$12.6 billion a year (38). Perpetrators have been estimated • to consume alcohol in 55% of cases (15). • £5.7 billion in 2004, with an extra £17 billion estimated England & Wales: for emotional costs to the victim (39). Perpetrators have been estimated to consume alcohol in 32% of cases (16). • Canada: US$1.1 billion a year (direct medical costs to women) (38). Perpetra - (40). tors in one Canadian community had consumed alcohol in 43% of cases 5

6 The economic costs of alcohol -­related intimate partner violence -­ are broadly unknown. However the cost of intimate partner vio lence in general is substantial (Box ). For health services alone, costs reflect victims of intimate partner violence as having more operative surgery, and more doctor visits, hospital stays, visits to pharmacies and mental health consultations over their lifetime than non -­victimized women Wider costs include those to judi -­ (1). cial systems, refuge provision, lost earnings, and emotional costs to the victim. Prevention -­related intimate Research focusing on the prevention of alcohol partner violence is scarce. However, generic strategies that tackle intimate partner violence and those that aim to reduce harmful use -­ of alcohol in the population both play important roles in preven tion. Successful strategies for tackling intimate partner violence in general have been reviewed elsewhere Such measures should (1). include addressing societal tolerance towards intimate partner vio -­ lence, acceptance of excessive drinking as a mitigating factor, and normative beliefs about masculinity and heavy drinking. Intimate partner violence may also be reduced through interventions to moderate alcohol consumption which include: Reducing alcohol availability -­ • : In Australia, a community inter vention that included restricting the hours of sale of alcohol -­ within one town reduced the number of domestic violence vic (41) . In Greenland, a coupon -­based tims presenting to hospital alcohol rationing system implemented in the 1980s that entitled adults to the equivalent of 7  beers -­worth of alcohol per month saw a subsequent 58% reduction in the number of police call (4 ) . outs for domestic quarrels • Regulating alcohol prices : Increasing the price of alcohol is an effective means of reducing alcohol -­related violence in general (43) . Although research evaluating the effectiveness specifi -­ cally for intimate partner violence is scarce, in the USA it has 6

7 been estimated that a 1% increase in the price of alcohol will decrease the probability of intimate partner violence towards (44) . women by about 5% : In the USA, treatment • Treatment for alcohol use disorders for alcohol dependence among males significantly decreased -­ husband -­to -­wife physical and psychological violence, and wife (45) .  months later to -­husband marital violence six and 1 Screening and Brief • Alcohol screening (such as Interventions: AUDIT [46]) and brief interventions in primary health care set -­ tings have proven effective in reducing levels and intensity of consumption in low -­income and high -­income societ -­ -­ to middle (47) ; although their direct effect on alcohol -­related intimate ies partner violence has not been measured. Such interventions and their evaluation have primarily been con -­ ducted in high -­income countries and consequently much less is known about their suitability or effectiveness outside of these countries. For many low -­income countries, interven -­ -­ to middle tions such as establishing and strengthening legislation on the legal minimum age for purchase of alcohol, and efforts to strengthen and expand the licencing of liquor outlets could be of great value -­related intimate partner violence in reducing alcohol (4 ) . Fur -­ ther, having fewer specialist health facilities reduces opportunities for alcohol treatment or screening; although the role of primary health care workers or general practitioners in identifying and alle -­ viating harmful alcohol use could be developed (4 ) . Consequently, creating effective interventions specific to low -­ and middle -­income countries is essential but requires further work on evaluating strat -­ egies that alter social norms (48) , promote violence and alcohol prevention through educational systems, and establish effective health and judicial responses to intimate partner violence. The role of public health Public health has a central role to play in the prevention of 7

8 intimate partner violence -­ (49) including addressing its relation ships with alcohol use. Key responsibilities include to: Collect and disseminate information on the prevalence of inti • -­ mate partner violence, alcohol consumption levels and drinking patterns in the population. • Promote, conduct and evaluate research on the links between alcohol consumption and intimate partner violence, both by vic -­ tims and perpetrators, that improves understanding of risk and protective factors. Increase awareness and routine enquiry regarding intimate • partner violence in services addressing alcohol abuse. • Measure and disseminate information about the health, social -­related inti -­ and wider economic costs associated with alcohol mate partner violence. • Evaluate and promote effective and cost effective prevention -­related intimate partner strategies for reducing levels of alcohol violence. • Promote multi -­agency partnerships to tackle intimate partner -­ violence by raising awareness of the links between alcohol con sumption and intimate partner violence. Advocate for policy and legal changes to protect victims of inti -­ • mate partner violence, to reduce problematic drinking, and to exclude alcohol as a mitigating factor for violent acts. • Ensure close links between intimate partner violence and alco -­ hol support services, allowing those presenting at one to receive 4 . screening and referral to the other Implementing such measures is often dependent on having estab -­ lished and accessible health and criminal justice services and the capacity to record and monitor alcohol use and violence. Such assets are not ubiquitous, even in high -­income countries. However, alcohol’s role as a contributory factor in intimate partner violence should inform developments in information collection, the design (51) 4 In practice such links are challenging to accomplish (50) and rarely seen 8

9 of services relating to both alcohol problems and violence, and the choice of evidence -­based interventions, especially when resources are scarce. Policy -­ Both the harmful and hazardous use of alcohol and intimate part ner violence have been recognized internationally as key public health issues requiring urgent attention. At both national and international levels, health organizations have a key role in advo -­ cating for policies that address the relationships between alcohol use and violence and in doing so promote prevention initiatives that will improve public health. The World Health Organization (WHO) runs comprehensive programmes on both issues to insti -­ gate and conduct research, identify effective prevention measures, and promote action by Member States to implement success -­ ful interventions and align policy towards reducing hazardous and harmful drinking and intimate partner violence. For alcohol, this includes collating and disseminating scien -­ tific information on alcohol consumption, developing global and regional research and policy initiatives on alcohol, supporting countries in increasing national capacity for monitoring alcohol consumption and related harm, and promoting prevention, early identification and management of alcohol use disorders in primary health care (5 ) . A World Health Assembly resolution on Pub -­ lic health problems caused by harmful use of alcohol (WHA58. 6 [53]) of 005 recognizes the health and social consequences asso -­ ciated with harmful alcohol use and requests Member States to develop, implement and evaluate effective strategies for reducing such harms, while calling on WHO to provide support to Member States in monitoring alcohol -­related harm, implementing and eval -­ uating effective strategies and programmes, and to reinforce the scientific evidence on effectiveness of policies. For violence, this includes the WHO Global Campaign for Vio -­ lence Prevention. Launched in 00 , the Campaign aims to raise international awareness about the problem of violence (including 9

10 youth violence), highlight the role of public health in its preven -­ tion, and increase violence prevention activities globally, regionally and nationally. The approach to preventing violence is set out in World report on violence and health (1). World Health the WHO 4 (54) of Assembly resolution WHA56. 003 encourages Member States to implement the recommendations set out in the report, and calls on the Secretariat to cooperate with Member States in establishing science -­based public health policies and programmes for the implementation of measures to prevent violence and to mitigate its consequences. Complementary to this, the Violence Prevention Alliance has been established to provide a forum for the exchange of best practice information between governments and other agencies working to reduce violence around the world. International policy on intimate partner violence includes the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence towards Women, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in Decem -­ ber 1993. The declaration raises awareness of the problem of violence against women globally (including violence within rela -­ tionships), stresses the responsibility of states to condemn and eliminate all forms of violence towards women, and highlights key strategies for prevention. UNIFEM, the United Nations Develop -­ ment Fund for Women, provides financial and technical assistance to programmes that promote women’s empowerment and gender equality, including those working to eliminate violence against women. 10


12 All references used in this document are available at: http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/publications/ l violence/en/index.htm For further information please consult: http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention http://www.who.int/substance_abuse/en http://www.who.int/substance_abuse/terminology/who_lexicon/en http://www.who.int/gender/violence/en/ Or contact: Department of Injuries and violence prevention [email protected] , fax + 41-22-791-4332, alexander Butchart ( Dr telephone + 41-22-791-4001) Department of abuse mental Health and Substance vladimir Dr poznyak, ( [email protected] , fax +41-22-791-4160, telephone +41-22-791-4307) Department of Gender, Women and Health , [email protected] moreno ( Dr claudia Garcia fax +41-22-791-1585, telephone +41-22-791-4353) World Health organization 20 avenue appia cH-1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland moores University, centre for public Health John [email protected] k, mark Bellis ( prof fax +44-(0)-151-231-4515, telephone +44-(0)-151-231-4511) public Health centre for liverpool l3 2 av UK © World Health Organization 006 Design by Inís — www.inis.ie

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