Verbal Abuse

How common is alcohol-related verbal abuse in Australia?

Just over one fifth (22%) of Australians (aged 14 years and over) have experienced verbal abuse by someone under the influence of alcohol in the past 12 months.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey.

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.

Verbal Abuse: Speech which is designed to humiliate, degrade, demean, intimidate, or subjugate (including the threat of physical violence).

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

Verbal abuse by someone under the influence of alcohol is most likely to occur in the street (30%), followed by in a pub or club (19%), or at the victim’s home (19%).

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NCETA secondary analysis, 2015).

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

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.

Verbal Abuse: Speech which is designed to humiliate, degrade, demean, intimidate, or subjugate (including the threat of physical violence).

Are men or women in Australia more likely to experience alcohol-related verbal abuse?

Australian men (26%) are more likely than women (19%) to experience verbal abuse by someone under the influence of alcohol.


Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey. 

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.

Verbal Abuse: Speech which is designed to humiliate, degrade, demean, intimidate, or subjugate (including the threat of physical violence).

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

Australians aged 18-24 years are the age group most likely to experience verbal abuse by someone under the influence of alcohol. After the age of 24, the incidence of alcohol-related verbal abuse decreases with age.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NCETA secondary analysis, 2015).

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.

Verbal Abuse: Speech which is designed to humiliate, degrade, demean, intimidate, or subjugate (including the threat of physical violence).

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

When Australians experience verbal abuse by someone under the influence of alcohol, the perpetrator of the abuse is not known to them in 60% of cases.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey.

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

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.

Verbal Abuse: Speech which is designed to humiliate, degrade, demean, intimidate, or subjugate (including the threat of physical violence).

When a person experiences alcohol-related verbal 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 verbal abuse by someone under the influence of alcohol are perpetrated by a stranger. However, women are more likely than men to be verbally abused by a spouse/partner or other relative. Men are more likely to be verbally abused by a friend or other person known to them. 

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey.

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

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.

Verbal Abuse: Speech which is designed to humiliate, degrade, demean, intimidate, or subjugate (including the threat of physical violence).