Drinkers not only cause alcohol harm to themselves but to those around them too whether it is family members, friends, work colleagues and even people they do not know. Research has established there are strong ties between domestic abuse and sexual assault and the misuse of alcohol. Although it is easy to use alcohol abuse as an excuse for abuse, it should never be either ignored or excused.
If you were the victim of abuse or an assault because of alcohol related problems within a family environment, there is a lot of support and advice out there for you to lean on. If you suffered abuse in the workplace due to the misuse of alcohol on the part of an employer or work colleague, support and advice from a variety of charitable organisations in the UK is available.
Should you have been abused by a stranger, you can report an incident to the authorities so the perpetrator can be brought to justice if they are caught. Even if an abuser is not caught, prosecuted and convicted, you may be able to seek compensation for the harm you were caused whether physical, psychological or both through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme. which is government run and established to allow blameless victims of crimes to seek compensation.
Alcohol Abuse and Domestic Violence
When it comes to domestic abuse and alcohol, this can include any of the following:
- Physical violence
- Emotional violence
- Sexual assault
- Psychological assault
- Financial violence – examples being controlling any money that a person is allowed to have (if any). All too often a victim is not allowed to handle money so they are totally dependent on their abuser
Any sort of coercive or threatening behaviour in a home environment on the part of a family member or partner who has a drink problem, could be deemed as domestic violence and it is unacceptable. Should you have been assaulted in any way in the home whether as a child or an adult, you can seek help and support from the many organisations and charities which are set up to provide advice and even shelter to those who are victims of assault in a home environment.
It is worth noting that you could be the victim of a single domestic violence incident, or you may have been subjected to many incidents on an ongoing basis over a long period of time. Studies have established that domestic violence linked to alcohol abuse, costs the UK an estimated £16 billion annually.
An Overview of Alcohol, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Assault in the UK
It has been found that alcohol abuse is linked to a high percentage of sexual assaults and domestic violence but studies have shown that the impact on a victim can be complex and that the misuse of alcohol is often not the root cause but a compounding factor. However, this is often found to be a significant contributing factor in some instances of domestic violence which is something that must be always taken into account.
Agencies and charitable organisations that deal with alcohol misuse and domestic violence have often placed their focus on the victims but some have now started to engage with the perpetrators too. Research has also found that many victims of this type of abuse often turn to alcohol themselves as a way to help them cope with the often traumatic experiences they are subjected to often on a ongoing basis.
Studies have also shown that most domestic abuse incidents are attributed to men and that males are far more likely to misuse alcohol than their female counterparts. The consequences can be dramatic and could result in cases of child-to-parent violence too. Again, there is help out there with legal professionals offering advice and support to those in need.
Have you been a victim of domestic violence and domestic abuse?
Nobody should fear or suffer such trauma, yet 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men in the UK are affected by domestic violence and abuse in their lifetimes. Tragically, these statistics have only increased during the COVID-19 lockdown. Visit AccidentClaims.co.uk for free advice and on domestic violence and domestic abuse claims.
Have you been attacked or assaulted by someone under the influence of alcohol?
Over 28,000 people were admitted to hospitals for assault-related injuries in the year ending March 2018. If you’ve been attacked or assaulted by someone under the influence of alcohol, you could be compensated for your injuries. Visit Legal Helpline for free advice and support.
Research Carried Out on Alcohol Abuse in the UK
Research carried out in the UK found that anything between 25% and 50% of people who committed domestic abuse had been drinking when an incident took place. However, other studies put the figure much higher at 73% of all domestic violence incidents involving the misuse of alcohol. Other research established that the risk of being raped was doubled when an offender had been drinking alcohol.
It is known that you are more likely to be assaulted sexually or raped by someone that you know and that sexual violence takes place in as many incidents involving domestic violence. With this said, you could be the victim of a sexual assault or rape outside of a family environment and if this should be the case, there is plenty of advice and support you can rely on and this includes the Police.
UK Statistics on Domestic Violence
The Crime Survey for England and Wales suggested that during the period from 2011 to 2012, domestic abuse was experienced by 7.3% of women and 5% of men. The survey also established that 31% of women and 18% of men had been subjected to some type of domestic abuse since they were 16 years of age and no significant changes in the figures have been seen over the following years.
However, the number of domestic violence incidents that resulted in murder has remained stable although this still stands at around two deaths every week in the United Kingdom which is still unacceptable.
UK Statistics Involving Sexual Assault
Sexual assault and alcohol abuse are often closely linked with a Crime Survey for England and Wales carried out for the period 2011/12 showed that 2.5% of women and 0.4% of men reported they had experienced some type of sexual offence in a previous year, but it is also thought that many sexual assaults never get reported. As such, the figures maybe much higher than studies suggest.
Victims of Domestic Abuse and the Use of Alcohol
As previously mentioned, many victims of domestic abuse that is alcohol related, themselves take to drink as a way of coping with the traumatic experiences they are put through by their assailants which could be on a constant basis. Should this be happening to you, it is important to understand that it is not your fault and that you are not to blame when you are subjected to either an sexual assault in the home environment (or elsewhere).
The reasons are numerous why as a victim of alcohol related domestic violence, you may abuse drink and should this be the case, it is important that you seek help, support and advice from people who understand what you are going through. It would be a mistake to try and cope with your experiences alone and it’s important to always remember that you are not alone.
Drink Abuse and Consent to Sex
The law in the UK, namely the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (SOA) placed the issue ‘consent’ to sex into law. If you were duped into drinking a drugged beverage or you were so drunk that you were incapable of giving your ‘consent’ to have sex with someone, you are offered protection under UK law. With this said, cases involving ‘consent’ can be complex which is why a charity called Against Violence and Abuse requested the law be changed so people were covered whether they were voluntarily intoxicated or involuntarily intoxicated. It is worth noting that where children are involved, the law protects them against child sexual abuse.
With this said, there are expert solicitors in the UK who handle this type of sensitive case. As such, if you feel the need to seek legal advice, you know there is support out there especially if an incident or incidents had been reported to Social Services and yet nothing was done to help you.
Victims of Sexual Assault and Alcohol Abuse – Refuges
Today, women who are victims of sexual assault and alcohol abuse can access refuges when needed even if they have problems with alcohol abuse themselves, which was not so much the case in the past but problems do still exist. As such charities like the Solace Women’s Aid and AVA are pushing for more to be done to support women with alcohol issues and who are victims of abuse. With this said, more needs to be done to protect vulnerable women (and their children) if they are living in a home environment where a partner has an alcohol problem which result in domestic abuse.
Alcohol, Domestic Abuse and Children
Children who are subjected to an environment of domestic abuse and alcohol related abuse can suffer from emotional harm. Physical abuse and violence can also be a factor in this type of home environment. With this said, children will often suffer a general lack of care. It is estimated that anything from 25% to 33% of cases involved child abuse involve parents with drinking problems. It is the main reason why children get in touch with Childline – over 5,300 children call the helpline every year. The charity the NSPCC sees alcohol abuse as being a high risk factor in home environments where alcohol-related domestic abuse is known to exist.
If you were the victim of childhood abuse which was alcohol related, you can always contact organisations and specialist solicitors who would provide valuable legal advice on whether you could seek compensation for the harm you were caused whether through the Civil Court or through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme.
What Access is Available to Services in the UK?
If you are the victim of alcohol abuse no matter where incidents occur or how often they happen, there are organisations you can turn to for help and support. This includes the following:
Drinkaware provides a lot of valuable information on where you can find the help, support and advice you need when concerned about someone you love may have an alcohol problem, or if you think you may have started drinking too much. There are links to numerous organisations and charities in the UK that are there to help you.
AA offers help and support to people who are experiencing problems with drinking to the point that it could be negatively impacting their lives and the lives of people around them. Alcoholics Anonymous provides much needed support to those who are recovering from alcoholism.
We Are With You provides essential help and advice to people who are worried about their own drinking habits or those of someone they know. The organisation also provides valuable help and support to people who may have a drug problem or who suffer from some form of mental health issue.
Al Anon provides all their members with the opportunity to take part in meetings held in major towns throughout the UK. When you need help, they are there to listen to you whether it is you with the drink problem, a family member, or someone you know. Others in similar situations tell their stories which means you get to understand that you are not alone.
A parent of a heroin addict founded ADFAM in 1984 because they did not want others to go through the lack of support they experienced. The support group led to many others being set up throughout the country all of which help people who struggle with their lives being negatively impacted by alcohol or drugs.
A registered charity that was founded in 1990, NACOA (The National Association for Children of Alcoholics) with the goal being to help minors who grow up in a family environment where parents are alcoholics or who have other addictions. The charity helps children of all ages whether they live in a household where one or both parents suffer from drink problems.