More females are becoming involved in alcohol-related violence, according to a Greater Western Area Health health expert. FILE IMAGEThe number of young people in court over alcohol-related violence is on the rise in Dubbo and a health expert has warned that attitudes toward binge drinking are a big part of the problem.
Nanjing Night Net

It was historically an issue that mainly involved males, but there has been an increase during the past few years in alcohol-related violence from females, Greater Western Area Health Service team leader of the Magistrate’s Early Referral Into Treatment (MERIT) program Michelle Warn said.

“I’ve really become aware of it over the last two years – the number of girls in court related to binge drinking,” she said.

“And in general, young people going to jail as a result of alcohol-related violence.”

One in three referrals to the MERIT program alone are related to binge drinking, while on average, there are two binge drinking-related referrals to the community drug and alcohol program in Dubbo per week.

The MERIT program was introduced to give offenders an opportunity to do something about drug and alcohol problems before they are sentenced.

“It’s becoming a real problem … violence-related offences are overtaking PCA (prescribed concentrate of alcohol) offences, from what we see in the program, with assaults on the increase,” she said.

“Alcohol is so entrenched in our country and culture, I don’t know what the answer is.”

Dubbo Local Court deals with a number of alcohol-related offences on a weekly basis.

A learner driver who was driving on the wrong side of the road, causing other cars to pull over, returned a 0.105 blood-alcohol reading, the court heard earlier this year.

Last month, the court dealt with an 18-year-old girl who was so drunk she was swerving her car on the road before she crashed it into a tree.

A man was charged with recklessly wounding and drink driving after he consumed 25 middies of beer and struck another man on the head with a metal bar.

And just last week, a 19-year-old man was sentenced for drink driving three times in one night after a party in Dubbo.

Alcohol is a drug that slows down the central nervous system and is known as a depressant, a NSW Ambulance spokesperson told the Daily Liberal.

“Abuse of alcohol, such as binge drinking or drinking to intoxication, can cause unconsciousness, vomiting and even death,” the spokesperson said.

Ms Warn said it was “time to make a stand”.

“It’s not okay to be a binge drinker,” she said.

“Because it’s so culturally accepted, no one is making a stand. Professionally, we need to start stepping up to the plate and saying that it’s not okay.”

On average, one in four hospitalisations of 15 to 25-year-olds are a result of intoxication, according to Reach Out Australia.

“Seventy Australians aged under 25 will be hospitalised due to alcohol-caused assaults in an average week,” the organisation reported.

“Four Australians aged under 25 die due to alcohol-related injuries in an average week.”

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