One in five are victims of drunken harassment

13th July, 2015 by Melita Kiely

Nearly one in five Britons claims to having been harassed in the street by binge drinkers, a new report has revealed.


More than half of Scottish adults admit they have experienced some form of harm as a result of someone else’s alcohol intake

The research was compiled by the Institute of Alcohol Studies (IAS) with the University of Sheffield School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR) and published in Alcohol’s Harm to Others.

More than 2,00 adults were questioned about how other people’s drinking had impacted them, including harassment, verbal insults, feeling unsafe, sexual harassment and being kept awake at night.

More than half of Scottish adults and three-quarters of those living in North West England have been harmed by another person’s alcohol consumption, with 51.4% of Scots and 78.7% people in North West England admitted they have experienced harm from someone else’s drinking.

“We need to better record alcohol’s harm to others across the health and social services and provide support services for those experiencing harm form other people’s drinking,” said lead author Dr Lucy Gell, of the School of Health and Related Research at the University of Sheffield.

“Our team are now working to provide evidence to national and local governments about which mix of policies could best help to reduce the social harms associated with alcohol use.”

Additional findings included a link between age and the rates of harm with those aged between 16-24 and 25-34 reporting higher rates of harm compared to those within older age groups.

Sexual harassment

One in five adults have been harassed or insulted in the street by someone who was intoxicated (20% for Scotland and 23% for North West England), while 19% of Scots and 36% of people in North West England had felt “threatened” or unsafe in public as a result of drunk people.

Unwanted sexual attention or inappropriateness had been experienced by 15% of adults in North West England, while 30% of Scots and 49% of those questioned in North West England said they have been kept awake at night as a result of drunken noise.

“This report is important because it shows that the harms caused by alcohol extend far beyond individual drinkers, often affecting many people through no choice of their own,” commented Katherine Brown, director of IAS. “Alcohol harm is everybody’s business – as taxpayers we are all paying the price.

“We hope this government will look to the evidence of what works and take action, both to ease the heavy financial burden on our health, social care and police services, and to make our communities safer.”

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