Lead researcher Dr Kerry Armstrong from the Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety – Queensland (CARRS-Q) at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) explored young women’s drinking experiences, vulnerabilities, and the strategies they used to mitigate risks when intoxicated.
The research found that young women felt it was more socially acceptable for them to drink to intoxication during celebratory occasions like birthdays, hen’s nights and Saint Patrick’s day.
While young women endorsed risky drinking behaviours, they also recognised that when they were intoxicated they were more vulnerable to a range of potential harms, including falls, injuries and being less able to identify and ward off potentially aggressive attacks or sexual assaults from strangers.
Young women also felt less safe in environments where drinking to excess was highly tolerated, including venues with poor lighting that were crowded, unclean, and had a lack of security personnel and police.
The research is timely, with Australian and New Zealand police gearing up for Operation Unite this weekend, an initiative to raise awareness about alcohol related violence.
“This worrying drinking behaviour is largely responsible for police services around Australia and New Zealand having to conduct security blitzes like Operation Unite,” Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) Chief Executive Michael Thorn said.
“Each weekend frontline police and emergency services have to deal with the all too often tragic consequences that result from excessive alcohol consumption. These resources could be better used for other important community purposes.”
Operation Unite, a joint initiative of Police Commissioners across Australia and New Zealand, will be conducted for the fifth time on the weekend of December 2 – 3 to send a strong and clear message that police will not put up with alcohol related violence, drunken behaviour and other related crime.
It will see hundreds of additional police officers deployed across Australian and New Zealand streets on Friday and Saturday night.
The Young Women’s Drinking Experiences in Public Drinking Venues research project aimed to explore the culture and norms associated with drink in young women aged 18 – 25 years through focus groups and interviews. The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) commissioned the research, which can be accessed at www.fare.org.au/media‐news/
FARE media contact: Sam North 0407 941 447
QUT media contact: Michaela Ryan (07) 3138 4494