Source: The Mercury, 23 August, 1994, p.8
Australia's high incidence of violent crime and domest- ic violence was directly link- ed to the population's massive beer intake, a crime expert said yesterday. Speaking in Adelaide at the eighth International Symposium on Victim- ology, Professor Jan Van Dijk from the Netherlands said an internation- al study he had made found a link between drinking beer and violent crime. The study found a particular link between beer drinking and sexual and domestic violence. "There is a direct correlation between beer consumption in countries and levels of violence, so where people drink more beer the rates of violence tend to be higher," he said. "In countries where people drink less, or drink wine, there appears to be less violence. "We do not fully understand the direct link between these two, but the link is certainly there. "In typical beer-drinking cultures like Holland, Germany, England, Canada and Australia there is more violence than in Italy or Greece or Spain, where people drink wine." Professor van Dijk said Australia was a "burglar's paradise" because most people lived in single-storey detached homes rather than high-rise apartments. "It's very difficult to burgle an apart- ment block in Paris on the sixth floor when there's a concierge on the ground floor," he said. "But in Australia 80 per cent of people live in a detached house which is easily accessible from all sides. "This makes it much easier to commit burglaries in Australia." Professor van Dijk said 3.7 per cent of Australians were burgled in 1991, 1.8 per cent were robbed, 15 per cent were victims of non-contact personal theft and 6.7 were victims of violent crimes, including sexual assaults, threats and domestic violence. Australia generally experienced a high- er crime rate than Europe because of its urban nature, high youth unemploy- ment and high car ownership. Professor van Dijk said robberies and muggings were less common in Australia, unlike Africa or Brazil where crime was rife because of the large number of dispossessed people. "But there aren't that many desperate people in Holland and Australia because you have social welfare, so that helps to prevent robberies." Professor van Dijk's study showed one- quarter of crime victims in Australia thought police failed to treat them respectfully or fairly. But only 5 per cent of victims suffer- ed post-traumatic stress and needed professional counselling, he said. AAP
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