Alcohol and other drug-related violence and non-reporting


When alcohol and other drug-related assaults are not reported to police, there is cause for community concern. Unreported crime has impacts on victims and on society at large. If citizens refrain from reporting crime, new policy initiatives may not be developed and the threat of repeat victimisation remains. There is, of course, a difficult balance to maintain, and that involves judgements about the seriousness of assaults. While all assaults cause concern, police should not be involved in trivial matters. Overall public satisfaction with police is high, with about 15 per cent of the Australian public expressing any degree of dissatisfaction with police services.

This paper, which reports data from the National Drug Strategy Household Surveys, shows that experience of verbal and physical abuse and being put in fear declines with age from the 20s onwards for both males and females. However, older people are more inclined than younger persons to report physical violence to police (older men much more so than older women).

During 1998, nearly 70 per cent of victims of an alcohol-related assault did not report the incident(s) to police. One in 6 of these victims stated they did not report the matter(s) because the police could not do anything and 1 in 9 stated the police would not do anything. A further 1in 2 victims thought the violence was too trivial for the police to deal with.