Alcohol and Domestic Abuse
Alcohol and domestic abuse are frequently paired. However, while alcohol is often involved in issues of intimate partner violence it is never the sole reason behind it.
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The Tragedy of Alcohol and Domestic Abuse
Please Take a Moment…
If you suffer abuse from an intimate partner, please stop what you’re doing, and call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). If you are Deaf or hard of hearing, you can still call using TTY 1-800-787-3224 or by video phone at 1-855-812-1001. There is someone available 24/7 every day of the year. They can help guide you out of a difficult situation, but you must make the first step yourself. You may also call if you are someone who commits abuse and don’t know how to stop.
How Alcohol Affects Domestic Abuse
To be perfectly clear, alcohol and alcoholism are never a sole trigger for, or cause of, domestic abuse. Rather, they are compounding factors that could eventually trigger intimate partner abuse in a violent individual. There is a misconception that when someone is an alcoholic who commits domestic abuse, that becoming sober will fix this issue. While reclaiming their sobriety can put a stop to regular abuse, that does not solve the core issue. Rather, it buries it under that person’s own shame and guilt but can still come out later in time. Only by fully confronting the underlying reasons for the abuse, can someone who abuses their partner be treated.
Can Alcohol Trigger Domestic Abuse?
While there is much debate as to whether alcohol can be a lone trigger in domestic abuse, it cannot be denied that it is statistically more likely to be involved than it isn’t. Two-thirds of victims of spousal abuse report that the perpetrator had been drinking at the time of the incident(s). This doesn’t just apply to the U.S. Global studies show higher odds of domestic abuse if one or both partners are dependent on alcohol. However, despite these damning statistics, it has been determined that rather than alcohol causing people to abuse their partners, it is just an overlap of two separate social problems.
Alcohol and Domestic Abuse Statistics
- The WHO estimates that roughly 55% of domestic abuse perpetrators were dinking prior to assault.
- Women who are abused are 15 times more likely to abuse alcohol.
- 68% of the delinquent youths in Oregon treatment programs had witnessed their mother’s abuse or been abused themselves.
Finding Help for Alcohol and Domestic Abuse
If you are someone who is having issues with domestic abuse, and believe alcohol is a trigger, the first thing you need to do is treat your alcoholism. From there, you can get the root of your issues, and how you turned to domestic violence and alcoholism. If you’re not sure where to turn, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline listed at the top of the page, or you can reach out to a dedicated treatment specialist. They can help you find the best treatment for alcohol dependence, and get you on your first steps to sobriety.
Author — Last Edited: December 10, 2018
Caetano, Raul. (2000). Alcohol-Related Intimate Partner Violence Among White, Black, and Hispanic Couples in the United States. Retrieved July 31st, 2018 from https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh25-1/58-65.htm
Institute of Alcohol Studies. (2015). Alcohol, Domestic Abuse, and Sexual Assault. Retrieved July 31st, 2018 from http://www.ias.org.uk/uploads/IAS%20report%20Alcohol%20domestic%20abuse%20and%20sexual%20assault.pdf
Nott, Laura. (2013). Domestic Violence and Substance Abuse in Women – The Importance of Getting Help. Retrieved July 31st, 2018 from https://www.elementsbehavioralhealth.com/addiction/domestic-violence-and-substance-abuse/
T, Buddy. (2018). The Combination of Domestic Abuse and Alcohol. Retrieved July 31st, 2018 from https://www.verywellmind.com/domestic-abuse-and-alcohol-62643
World Health Organization. (2006). World Health Organization Intimate Partner Violence and Alcohol Fact Sheet. Retrieved July 31st, 2018 from http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/violence/world_report/factsheets/ft_intimate.pdf
University of Massachusetts Boston Department of Public Safety. (2018). Know the Facts on Domestic Violence. Retrieved on August 2, 2018 at https://www.umb.edu/public_safety/divisions/special_services/domestic_violence_unit/know_the_facts_on_domestic_violence