The Case for Alcohol Outlet Density Controls as a Promising Approach to Prevent Domestic Violence

Summary

Domestic violence is a major global public health concern that causes significant social and economic burdens. Governments from around the world are implementing policies and practices to effectively address and prevent domestic violence from occurring in the first place. Related to this, leaders in the domestic violence movement and in government are beginning to address the connection between domestic violence and alcohol. Research shows that an over-concentration of locations that sell and serve alcohol is associated with higher rates of alcohol-related disorder and crime, including domestic violence. Thus, some governments have begun to shift policy direction to address the relationship between alcohol and domestic violence. This chapter examines how diverse governments have incorporated alcohol policies and strategies into their domestic violence prevention plans and provides examples of alcohol outlet density control measures. Findings show that while most governments acknowledge the connection between alcohol and domestic violence, to date, a majority have not incorporated comprehensive alcohol reduction strategies into their domestic violence prevention plans. Further, even though theoretical evidence suggests that reducing alcohol outlet density may be a promising approach to prevent and reduce domestic violence, there is little evidence of the real-world effectiveness of such policies; as such, additional research and evaluation are needed in this area. Despite such limitations, the emerging body of knowledge on this issue points to a promising leverage point for policy and practice to prevent domestic violence.