The 2014-15 financial year has been a period of extraordinary achievement; a year in which our significant investment in world-leading research, policy development, government relations and community building has paid enormous dividends.
FARE had a strong focus on family violence prevention over the course of 2014-15. Our interest dates back to 2008, resulting in the 2010 publication The range and magnitude of alcohol’s harm to others; research undertaken by the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research (CAPR). The follow-up study, The hidden harm: Alcohol’s impact on children and families, was the catalyst for FARE to confront alcohol’s significant contribution to family violence. The evidence is clear: reducing the presence of alcohol reduces both the incidence and severity of harm.
This National Framework exemplifies the new vision FARE adopted from the beginning of 2014: to stop harm caused by alcohol. It’s a case of commissioning world-class research, translating these findings into policies and programs, and then advocating for their adoption. Along the way we have built networks and coalitions among researchers, the service sector and fellow advocates.
Research is central to any organisation pursuing an agenda of reform. In 2006 FARE established CAPR under the distinguished leadership of Professor Robin Room, in partnership with Turning Point and the University of Melbourne. After nearly ten years this partnership is coming to an end, and a new venture with La Trobe University will begin in September 2015. We thank Turning Point and the University of Melbourne for their support of Professor Room and his world-leading team of researchers.
The Harper Review into competition policy, which commenced in 2014, brought with it the threat of further deregulation of alcohol controls. FARE lead the sector in strongly arguing that alcohol be recognised as no ordinary commodity; a position acknowledged in the Competition Policy Review final report.
FARE is blessed with a high quality team of directors and staff. There is a collective eagerness to make a difference and to confront the tough issues in this arena in spite of entrenched vested interests, political reluctance and media cynicism.
Each year our poll shows about three quarters of those surveyed think Australia has a problem with alcohol and that more needs to be done about this.
We’re also witnessing an encouraging decline in the number of young Australians binge drinking, with a CAPR study finding binge drinking among 14 and 17 year olds has declined by half over the last 13 years, while the number of underage abstainers has more than doubled.
This year’s accomplishments mean that FARE’s efforts to bring about this much-needed change have been fruitful, and are an important foundation for future efforts to stop harm caused by alcohol.
NSW Election Campaign
NAAPA campaigns successfully in NSW
Campaigning by the NSW ACT Alcohol Policy Alliance (NAAPA) in the lead up to the 2014/15 New South Wales (NSW) State Election resulted in a number of significant wins.
FARE mobilised and engaged the community and worked alongside other stakeholders in the alliance to ensure that effective alcohol policy reform remain a top priority for the NSW Government.
As a result of the Not one more campaign, the returned NSW Government committed to four of NAAPA’s election priorities: to fund a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Clinic out of The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, to review the flawed Community Impact Statement scheme that guides liquor licensing approvals, to continue the ban on receiving political donations from the alcohol industry and to move the Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing from the Department of Trade and Investment to the Department of Justice.
The review into competition policy undertaken in 2014, by a panel chaired by Professor Ian Harper, was seen by many public health advocates as a threat of further deregulation of alcohol controls in Australia.
In response to that challenge, FARE was instrumental in successfully encouraging interested parties and those within the public health sector to join us in making submissions to Professor Harper’s review.
As a direct result of our efforts, the Competition Policy Review final report, released on 31 March 2015, recognised that alcohol is no ordinary commodity, acknowledging both the harms it causes and the need for regulation.
Alcohol is involved in up to 65 per cent of family violence incidents reported to police and up to 47 per cent of child abuse cases in Australia. Alcohol was also consumed by the perpetrator in more than a third of intimate partner homicides. Yet to date, government plans have either not adequately acknowledged alcohol’s involvement in family violence, or have failed to embrace strategies to address the issue.
FARE’s National framework for action to prevent alcohol-related family violence aims to remedy that; proposing policies and programs that Australian governments can implement which will have a tangible impact on reducing and preventing family violence.
Launching the Framework at Parliament House in Canberra on 23 June, Australian of the Year Rosie Batty urged governments to act and urgently implement the measures put forth by FARE that would prevent and reduce this violence.
World-leading research into alcohol’s devastating impact on children and families
A new study has revealed the full extent of alcohol-related family and domestic violence in Australia – shedding light on a hidden dimension of alcohol harms that occurs largely behind closed doors.
Funded by FARE and undertaken by the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research, The hidden harm: Alcohol’s impact on children and families provides insight into the magnitude of this problem and the large numbers of children being put at risk.
Almost 30,000 incidents of alcohol-related domestic violence are reported to police a year, and that’s just in the states and territories where this data is available. Over 1 million children in Australia are affected by others drinking, with 142,582 substantially affected. And more than 10,000 children are in the child protection system where a carer’s drinking is a factor.
The study follows, and builds upon, the release of the internationally renowned report The range and magnitude of alcohol’s harm to others (2010), which was the first to examine the harms from alcohol consumption on people other than the drinker.
In 2015, the nation’s most comprehensive annual alcohol poll has shed light on what we drink and think, highlighting that Australians want to get rid of our boozy hangover and are looking to governments to take action.
Three quarters (75%) of Australians think we have a problem with excess drinking or alcohol abuse, but for the first time this decade the annual poll has seen a significant shift in public perceptions – with an increasing number of Australians embracing recent government efforts to address alcohol harms and eager for the industry to be held more accountable.
Now in its sixth year, FARE’s Annual alcohol poll 2015: Attitudes and behaviours provides valuable trend data and insights into community perspectives on alcohol and unpacks Australia’s complex relationship with alcohol.
FARE has long recognised the importance of speaking directly to the Australian community and, over the years, has invested wisely in people and infrastructure to ensure our online presence has been dynamic engaging, content rich and accessible.
In 2012, the Foundation was keen to explore new ways to nourish and promote a genuine two way conversation with Australians about this issue that impacts on all of us. The result: Drink Tank.
From modest beginnings, this blog has grown to become a trusted platform for thoughtful comment. For over three years Drink Tank has provided an online space for Australians to engage in a meaningful conversation about alcohol and its impact on society.
This year, the platform celebrated a very special milestone: its 300th post.
Working with individuals, communities, organisations and governments to stop alcohol harms
At FARE we know that we have a responsibility to help everyday Australians deal with alcohol issues. We strive to make Australia a safer, healthier and happier place by producing world-leading research, raising public awareness, advocating for changes to alcohol policy, and supporting community-led sustainable projects and programs.
To do this, we work with community leaders, targeted population groups, businesses and government, service providers, health and emergency service professionals, and not-for-profit organisations to create lasting and meaningful change. We partner with purpose, and throughout this past year FARE has continued to develop and strengthen strategic, collaborative partnerships, alliances, and networks for maximum impact.
At the local level we support individuals and communities by providing resources to respond to alcohol harms. From challenging social norms among youth, to supporting academic researchers and health professionals, or using innovative and culturally sensitive techniques to engage communities; FARE is empowering Australians to start these difficult conversations and to address the issues that affect them.
FARE is an independent, not-for-profit organisation working to stop the harm caused by alcohol in Australia. Our bold strategic vision describes the sharp focus, determination and commitment of this organisation, a vision which is implemented by the Foundation’s team of dedicated staff and overseen by its Board of Directors.