Physical Abuse

How common is alcohol-related physical abuse in Australia?

In 2016, 7% of Australians (aged 14 years and over) had been physically abused by someone under the influence of alcohol in the past 12 months.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey.

Physical Abuse: An act which causes pain and/or injury to the victim.

Under the Influence of Alcohol: There is no single objective standard for being under the influence of alcohol. Similarly, data sources used in the NADK do not provide a definition of this term. It is popularly understood as referring to an individual who has consumed enough alcohol to impair their mental, physical, and/or cognitive faculties. However, definitions and standards may vary between jurisdictions, sectors and organisations.

Where is alcohol-related physical abuse likely to occur in Australia?

Physical abuse by someone under the influence of alcohol is most likely to occur in the victim’s home (24%), in a pub or club (22%), or in the street (18%).

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NCETA secondary analysis, 2018).

Please note: Percentages may not tally to 100% due to rounding.

* Estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution.

Physical Abuse: An act, which causes pain and/or injury to the victim.

Under the Influence of Alcohol: There is no single objective standard for being under the influence of alcohol. Similarly, data sources used in the NADK do not provide a definition of this term. It is popularly understood as referring to an individual who has consumed enough alcohol to impair their mental, physical, and/or cognitive faculties. However, definitions and standards may vary between jurisdictions, sectors and organisations.

Are men or women more likely to experience alcohol-related physical abuse?

In 2016, Australian men were approximately equally as likely as women to have been physically abused by someone under the influence of alcohol in the past 12 months (8% vs 7%, respectively).

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey.

Physical Abuse: An act which causes pain and/or injury to the victim.

Under the Influence of Alcohol: There is no single objective standard for being under the influence of alcohol. Similarly, data sources used in the NADK do not provide a definition of this term. It is popularly understood as referring to an individual who has consumed enough alcohol to impair their mental, physical, and/or cognitive faculties. However, definitions and standards may vary between jurisdictions, sectors and organisations.

Are younger or older Australians more likely to experience alcohol-related physical abuse?

Australians aged 18-24 and 25-29 years are the age groups most likely to experience physical abuse by someone under the influence of alcohol. After the age of 29 years, the incidence of alcohol-related physical abuse declines with age.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NCETA secondary analysis, 2018).

Please note: Between 2% and 11% of survey participants in each age group chose not to respond to this question.

Physical Abuse: An act which causes pain and/or injury to the victim.

Under the Influence of Alcohol: There is no single objective standard for being under the influence of alcohol. Similarly, data sources used in the NADK do not provide a definition of this term. It is popularly understood as referring to an individual who has consumed enough alcohol to impair their mental, physical, and/or cognitive faculties. However, definitions and standards may vary between jurisdictions, sectors and organisations.

When a person experiences alcohol-related physical abuse, what is the most likely relationship between the victim and perpetrator?

When Australians experience physical abuse by someone under the influence of alcohol, the perpetrator of the abuse is not known to them in the majority (57%) of cases.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey.

Please note: Percentages do not tally to 100% as participants could choose more than one response.

Physical Abuse: An act which causes pain and/or injury to the victim.

Under the Influence of Alcohol: There is no single objective standard for being under the influence of alcohol. Similarly, data sources used in the NADK do not provide a definition of this term. It is popularly understood as referring to an individual who has consumed enough alcohol to impair their mental, physical, and/or cognitive faculties. However, definitions and standards may vary between jurisdictions, sectors and organisations.

When a person experiences alcohol-related physical abuse in Australia, is the relationship between the victim and perpetrator different for men and women?

For both Australian men and women, the largest proportion of incidents of physical abuse by someone under the influence of alcohol are perpetrated by a stranger. However, women are more likely than men to be physically abused by a spouse/partner or other relative. Men are more likely than women to be physically abused by a friend or another person known to them.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey.

Please note: Percentages do not tally to 100% as participants could choose more than one response.

Physical Abuse: An act which causes pain and/or injury to the victim.

Under the Influence of Alcohol: There is no single objective standard for being under the influence of alcohol. Similarly, data sources used in the NADK do not provide a definition of this term. It is popularly understood as referring to an individual who has consumed enough alcohol to impair their mental, physical, and/or cognitive faculties. However, definitions and standards may vary between jurisdictions, sectors and organisations.