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Preventing Alcohol-Related Violence: A Public Health Approach

NCJ Number
Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health Volume: 17 Issue: 4 Dated: 2007 Pages: 250-264
Jonathan Shepherd
Date Published
15 pages
This article addresses issues in a public health approach to preventing alcohol-related violence in Great Britain.
The article first presents an overview of major meta-analyses and recent insight from psychology, substance abuse, epidemiology, and criminology regarding the link between alcohol consumption and aggressive/violent behavior. This is followed by a discussion of the involvement of health services in the prevention of alcohol-related violence. Great Britain's Crime and Disorder Act 1998 imposes responsibility on health services, local government, and the police to cooperate in measuring and preventing crime. Data collection and sharing are crucial in this cooperation. In the United Kingdom, a core violence dataset has been determined in consultation with the Home Office. The data consist of the location of the violent incident, the weapon used, number of assailants, repeat violence, and whether the incident was reported to police. Absent the names of the parties involved, this information is shared with local authorities and the police for the purpose of targeting areas and issues linked to violent behavior. In addition to data collection, health services have combined treatment with prevention in the care regimen. This article describes a care pathway designed to target risk factors such as the location where injury was sustained, weapons used, and alcohol abuse. It also examines the factors associated with the occurrence of violence for mental health attention. In this care pathway, primary prevention has included the introduction of toughened and plastic beer containers in order to reduce the severity of injuries when these containers are used as weapons. Secondary prevention has involved interventions for alcohol abuse, and tertiary prevention is exemplified in cognitive behavioral therapy in treating posttraumatic stress disorder resulting from being a victim of violence. 2 figures and 65 references