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Domestic Violence and Alcohol: What Is Known and What Do We Need To Know To Encourage Environmental Interventions (From Alcohol & Crime: Research and Practice for Prevention, Alcohol Policy 12 Conference)

NCJ Number
Kenneth Leonard
Date Published
23 pages
This article examines the literature on the effects of alcohol on violent behavior in general and on domestic violence in particular.
Domestic violence is often associated with drunkenness and alcoholism. Although the reasons for this association are not entirely understood, domestic violence researchers have argued that alcohol is simply an excuse for violence. More recently, alcohol researchers have argued that alcohol is one of many contributing causes of violence. This article attempts to determine if there is a relationship between alcohol and domestic violence and, if there is, whether the relationship is causal. The article also examines the role, if any, of alcohol consumption by the victim. Most important, it attempts to determine what alcohol policy strategies can be used to prevent or ameliorate domestic violence. The article concludes that alcohol intervention/prevention should focus on men in the early stages of aggressive behavior, at a time before the violence has become entrenched, and should include goals of reduced intoxication and management of anger/conflict. For more severe populations, alcohol interventions might have a beneficial impact in the context of other intensive interventions. Figure, bibliography