Warwick Drug Arm social worker Karyn van Tilburg says alcohol has had a major role to play in many domestic violence cases she's seen.
Warwick Drug Arm social worker Karyn van Tilburg says alcohol has had a major role to play in many domestic violence cases she's seen. Renee Pilcher

Drink-fuelled violence behind closed doors

WHILE alcohol-fuelled violence may be a rarity in Warwick venues, one Rose City social worker is concerned about its prevalence in the home.

Warwick Drug Arm social worker Karyn van Tilburg said a large proportion of the domestic violence cases she saw involved the abuse of alcohol or drugs.

Nationwide, up to half of all domestic violence cases have been linked to alcohol abuse.

"There is a very strong link between domestic violence and drinking," Ms van Tilburg said.

"A lot of my clients have either suffered domestic violence or had a domestic violence order taken out against them, and a lot of that violence is alcohol- fuelled.

"While the police are on the front line at venues and going out to the initial incidents in people's homes, seeing the really ugly stuff, I see the outcome of that violence, which is broken families."

Ms van Tilburg said though changes to the law had addressed alcohol-related violence, attitudes toward drinking also needed to change.

"From what I see at least, I think government intervention can only go so far," she said.

"We need to change people's attitudes toward drinking, because it affects not only the user but the relationships of the user.

"I am seeing seeing an increased level of people not taking responsibility for their actions.

"Perpetrators are often drinking at home, rather than just at venues, so whatever laws they put down are only going to help to certain degree.

"A lot of the people I see who have become violent while drunk are extremely sorry about it after the fact."

As one of only two social workers in drug and alcohol prevention in the region, Ms van Tilburg said she hoped improved funding could lead to better community education surrounding alcohol.



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