Alcohol related violence in the Central Tablelands

VIOLENCE: Police Association and and crisis supporter have their say on alcohol related violence. Photo: FILE
VIOLENCE: Police Association and and crisis supporter have their say on alcohol related violence. Photo: FILE

ALCOHOL is significantly involved in violence in the community, with the drug a factor in around one-third of domestic and non-domestic assaults in the region.

Forbes has the highest percentage, with alcohol a factor in 34.5 per cent of the 84 domestic assaults reported by the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research in the 12 months to September 2018.

This was followed closely by Cowra (34.4 per cent of 61 assaults), Hilltops (32.6 per cent of 92 assaults), Parkes (28.2 per cent of 78 assaults) and Cootamundra-Gundagai (27.8 per cent of 72 assaults).

For non-domestic assaults, alcohol was a factor in 36.4 to 41.4 per cent of incidents across these local government areas.

Senior Constable Adam Piffarelli is among the frontline emergency workers who are called to many of these assaults.

"It changes the behaviour of people. What people do when they're sober is different to what they do when alcohol is involved," he said.

VIOLENCE: Alcohol is involved in around one-third of domestic and non-domestic assaults, data from the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research shows. Photo: FILE

VIOLENCE: Alcohol is involved in around one-third of domestic and non-domestic assaults, data from the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research shows. Photo: FILE

"It gives them the old Dutch courage and they think that they can take on others and they'll win."

Snr Const Piffarelli is also a branch chair for the Police Association of NSW (PANSW) in the Central West and he is often the person fellow officers turn to about violence they witness on a call out.

"You see people lose control a lot quicker and they fly off the handle a lot quicker," he said of the violence victims and police officers witness.

"With alcohol related violence, a lot of the time they [the perpetrator] don't know what they're having an issue with."

Lifeline Central West chief executive officer Stephanie Robinson said alcohol does not make a person violent, but can add "fuel" to issues already there.

"Domestic violence is the fire that's burning away and alcohol is like adding fuel to that fire," she said.

It changes the behaviour of people. What people do when they're sober is different to what they do when alcohol is involved.

Chair for the Police Association of NSW (PANSW) in the Central West Senior Constable Adam Piffarelli

"Alcohol is often used as an excuse, sometimes by the victim and sometimes by the perpetrator."

From her years of answering crisis calls for Lifeline, Ms Robinson said pay day was often a factor because suddenly there's more money and for some people alcohol will be the first thing purchased.

"Often there's not enough money left over for food and then there's explosions," she said.

"This can increase in domestic and family violence around pay days."

Ms Robinson said it can be a vicious circle - domestic and family violence can lead to the victim or perpetrator drinking more, and more alcohol can just fuel the violence again.

"Society is too quick to dismiss bad behaviour because of alcohol," she said.

  • For help in a crisis call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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