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Open AccessArticle

Effects of a Risk-Based Licensing Scheme on the Incidence of Alcohol-Related Assault in Queensland, Australia: A Quasi-Experimental Evaluation

1
School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia
2
Hunter Medical Research Institute, 1 Kookaburra Circuit, New Lambton Heights, NSW 2305, Australia
3
National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University, 7 Parker Place, Building 609- Level 2, Technology Park, Bentley, WA 6102, Australia
4
School of Psychology, Deakin University, Geelong Waterfront Campus, Geelong, VIC 3220, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(23), 4637; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16234637
Received: 31 October 2019 / Accepted: 15 November 2019 / Published: 21 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alcohol Policy and Public Health)
Amid concerns about increasing alcohol-related violence in licensed premises, Queensland introduced a system of risk-based licensing (RBL) in 2009, the first of five Australian jurisdictions to do so. Under RBL, annual license fees are supposed to reflect the risk of harm associated with the outlet’s trading hours and record of compliance with liquor laws. The objective is to improve service and management practices thereby reducing patron intoxication and related problems. Using police data, we defined cases as assaults that occurred during so-called ‘high-alcohol hours’, and compared a pre-intervention period of 2004–2008 with the post-intervention period 2009–2014. We employed segmented linear regression, adjusting for year and time of assault (high vs. low alcohol hours), to model the incidence of (1) all assaults and (2) a subset that police indicated were related to drinking in licensed premises. We found a small decrease in all assaults (β = −5 per 100,000 persons/year; 95% CI: 2, 9) but no significant change in the incidence of assault attributed to drinking in licensed premises (β = −8; 95% CI: −18, 2). Accordingly, we concluded that the results do not support a hypothesis that RBL is effective in the prevention of harm from licensed premises. There may be value in trialing regulatory schemes with meaningful contingencies for non-compliance, and, in the meantime, implementing demonstrably effective strategies, such as trading hour restrictions, if the aim is to reduce alcohol-related violence. View Full-Text
Keywords: alcohol policy; liquor licensing; evaluation; police data; alcohol-related harm; assaults alcohol policy; liquor licensing; evaluation; police data; alcohol-related harm; assaults
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Nepal, S.; Kypri, K.; Attia, J.; Evans, T.-J.; Chikritzhs, T.; Miller, P. Effects of a Risk-Based Licensing Scheme on the Incidence of Alcohol-Related Assault in Queensland, Australia: A Quasi-Experimental Evaluation. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 4637.

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