June Safeguarding Theme – Alcohol and Drug Awareness

Alcohol and violence:

Much of todays society revolves around alcohol and drinking, where more is inevitable and you are praised and rated on your ability to drink. Gone are the days where you go out with friends and have a drink. We are in an era where drinking is the sole reason for a night out and the drunker, the better! But is this the pathway to alcohol abuse or violence? And how can we recognise if someone needs help?

Common practice before a night out is often to polish off a few bottles of something and play a variety of drinking games to ‘get ahead’ in a bid to save money. However, when has this actually saved you money? Starting a night out, already heavily influenced, often leads to spending more as inhibitions are severely lowered and you experience the ‘ worry about it tomorrow’ effect. This, of course, doesn’t just stop at spending.

Alcohol heavily reduces anxiety (one of reasons people feel relaxed when drinking), however, it also deeply reduces our ability to think straight. It narrows perspective and creates what is known as tunnel vision. This is where a good time drinking can become dangerous. Alcohol reduces your ability to read social cues and often leads to misinterpreting people. This is where things can get violent.

There are many links between alcohol abuse and domestic violence with studies showing that up to 87% of all domestic violence incidents in the UK begin with drinking. Although violence can occur at any stage when drinking, domestic violence is one of the main results of consuming excessive alcohol.

Domestic violence can be tough to spot, as there is often a long trail of denial and loyalty from the victim. If you are concerned about a colleague or friend, it is important to look out for these vital signs that something may be wrong:

  • Becoming withdrawn – victims of domestic abuse often retract themselves from society, in the hope to hide the strains of their relationship
  • Isolation from friends and family – violent partners may dictate who they can see and when.
  • Name calling or put downs – Have you ever heard them being put down by their partner?
  • With holding money – Have they been cut off financially? This is another way of controlling what they can and can’t do.
  • Threat or actual physical harm – Have you seen threatening behaviour or does the victim carry signs of physical abuse?

How and where to get help?

It may be tricky to try and tackle the subject of domestic abuse with someone you are concerned about, but it could make the difference between life and death. The chances are, someone is more likely to open up about it and admit they are suffering from domestic violence if they are approached by someone wanting to help them. For more information and facts about alcohol and domestic violence, follow the links below.

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/abuse/Pages/domestic-violence-help.aspx

http://alcoholism.about.com/cs/abuse/a/aa990331.htm

http://www.drinkaware.co.uk/check-the-facts/health-effects-of-alcohol/mental-health/alcohol-and-aggression?gclid=CPbDo–fqsUCFSPnwgodWDMAXQ

Straight A Learners can also access more information in the Resources/Safeguarding section of OneFile.