Exploring the Correlation Between Family Violence and Alcohol

    Studies indicate that there is a strong correlation between family violence and alcohol. Alcohol can make an individual more explosive, increasing the regularity and cruelty of familial abuse.  By inflaming emotions, alcohol often provides the impetus for power and control issues related to domestic violence and intimate partner violence.

    Startling Statistics

    • It is estimated that as many as half of domestic violence incidents begin with drinking (Alcohol Abuse and Domestic Violence, n.d.) and several researchers have found that figure to be as high as 73% (Institute of Alcohol Studies, 2014).
    • Although alcohol is not always the sole reason for a rise in domestic violence, it does lead to an increase in the frequency and severity of abusive incidents (Against Violence and Abuse & Alcohol Concern, 2016).
    • Heavy drinking by the offender was found to lead to more severe injury to the victim than if they had been sober (Galvani, 2006).
    • Alcohol – more than any other drug – was found to be correlated with spousal and child abuse (National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence).

    The Role of Alcohol in Domestic Violence

    According to the World Health Organization, one of the reasons alcohol consumption is a cause of domestic violence is because it “directly affects cognitive and physical function, reducing self-control and leaving individuals less capable of negotiating a non-violent resolution to conflicts within relationships.”

    “Because alcohol use affects cognitive and physical function, it reduces a person’s self-control and lessens their ability to negotiate a non-violent resolution to conflicts,” according to Alcohol.org. “Alcohol is often involved in instances of domestic abuse, both by the perpetrator and the victim, which can result in more significant and negative outcomes.” In fact, an estimated 55 percent of people who commit domestic abuse were drinking, and women who experience domestic violence are up to 15 times more likely to abuse alcohol themselves. 

    Monitoring Alcohol can be Part of the Solution

    The positive news is that alcohol monitoring can be an impactful intervention to family violence.  According to a 2016 report to the National District Attorneys Association by the Stearns County Repeat Felony Domestic Violence Court, felony repeat domestic violence offenders “act differently – and better – when they know, for certain, they are being monitored. Once offenders have experienced life without chemicals, crime, battering, and overall court system involvement drops dramatically.”

    Many former SCRAM CAM clients have confirmed that knowing that they were monitored 24/7 provided them additional motivation to stay sober, and they indicated that the ability to prove sobriety was a critical recovery tool.

    Additional resources:

    Domestic Violence: The Hidden Danger of Social Distancing

    Electronic Monitoring of Domestic Violence Cases—A Study of Two Bilateral Programs

    Domestic Abuse and Women with Alcohol Abuse Issues