Trends and Issues number 140 showed there were proportionally more alcohol consumers and more hazardous and harmful drinkers among rural youth than among their metropolitan counterparts. In both regions between 1993 and 1998, however, the number of persons reporting alcohol-related victimisation declined. Nonetheless, in 1998 one-third of rural youth aged 14-19, and two-thirds of rural youth aged 20-24, were victims of alcohol-related verbal or physical abuse, or were “put in fear” by alcohol-affected persons. About two-thirds of these abuses occurred in pubs and clubs.
In this second paper, we find that in rural regions of Australia, about three-quarters of all alcohol-related social disorders were committed by persons aged 14-24 years. About three-quarters of these disorders were committed by just 12 per cent of the age cohort and about three-quarters of perpetrators were also victims of alcohol-related social disorders. On average, rural youth whose usual alcohol consumption pattern was at harmful levels, offended on four occasions, compared to less than one occasion by responsible drinkers. The results suggest that the greatest impact on rates of alcohol-related social disorder in rural regions would flow from the promotion and observance of responsible serving practices in pubs and clubs, the early identification of multiple and repeat offenders, and their diversion into appropriate treatment and education programs.