Liquor regs see 50% drop in hospital admissions

In Alcohol, Government, National Headlines, New South Wales, Victoria

Tribute: Stuart Kelly, 16, the brother of Thomas Kelly, addresses the media at the supreme court on Friday. Photo: Brendan Esposito

TTN: The hard data is in: stricter alcohol regulation at Sydney’s St Vincent’s hospital has halved alcohol-related hospital admissions. The facts are unlikely to spread to other regions for the cause of societal change though – Barry O’Farrell fell on his sword to get it done in his battle against the NSW liquor industry.

Thomas Kelly anniversary marked with halving of alcohol violence

From smh.com.au, 6th July 2014

The number of people suffering injuries after booze-fuelled violence has fallen by at least 50 per cent in one of Sydney’s busiest emergency departments.St Vincent’s Hospital head of emergency Gordian Fulde said there had been hardly any severe brain injuries caused by alcohol-fuelled violence in the six months since stronger laws, including mandatory sentencing, were introduced in February.

The dramatic drop in severe alcohol-related injuries came after the doubling of a prison sentence given to Kieran Loveridge on Friday for the one-punch killing of Sydney teenager Thomas Kelly two years ago on Monday.

“The absolute decrease in severe head injuries has been spectacular and terrific,” Professor Fulde said.

“We’ve definitely seen a very marked decrease in as far as we’ve had hardly any severe brain injuries from alcohol-fuelled violence.”

Loveridge’s original sentence sparked public outrage and prompted the government to bow to pressure and implement strict mandatory sentencing laws for violent offences fuelled by alcohol.

Professor Fulde said he believed an increased police presence, intense media scrutiny and the legislation had helped change people’s attitudes.

But he said he would hold his breath to see if the “magic” transformation of his emergency department continued into summer and the “silly season”. “That will be really when we will know where we are at,” he said.

On the eve of the two-year anniversary of Mr Kelly’s death, his father said Loveridge’s increased sentence and the decrease in severe alcohol-related injuries at St Vincent’s was what his family had been waiting for.

“We’ve literally spent the past two years of our lives trying to change things,” Ralph Kelly said. “That children can go out more safely today than what they could do six months ago is good news for everyone.”

He said he believed the work done by the Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation and legislative changes had taught young people there were consequences for their actions

“We always believed that to get behavioral change there had to be legislative changes made so that there were consequences,” he said.

Monday marks two years since his son’s life was taken by one, swift and pointless punch.

“Any anniversary is difficult but probably the hardest is his birthday,” he said.

Law Society of NSW president Ros Everett said it was measures such as high-visibility policing in Kings Cross that had led to the fall in violent incidents, not the mandatory sentence for one-punch assaults.

‘‘I would love to see the one-punch law repealed because mandatory sentencing can lead to very unfair results,’’ she said.

Ms Everett said the decision of the Court of Criminal Appeal to increase Loveridge’s sentence from five years to 10 years showed mandatory sentencing wasn’t needed.

‘‘It is proved by this case that the system is working. There are built-in safeguards in the system we have. Mandatory sentencing brings in really unfair results. You can’t have one size fits all.’’

Ms Everett was critical of ‘‘knee-jerk reactions’’ by governments to heinous crimes that led to changes in the crimes or bail acts.

Knox Liquor Accord aims to curb alcohol-fuelled anti-social behaviour

From (Victoria’s) Herald Sun/ Knox Leader, 3rd July 2014

KNOX City Council and local police are working together to resurrect a 12-year-old strategy to reduce anti-social behaviour at licensed venues.

This comes as Knox Leader continues to report numerous incidents of alcohol-fuelled violence outside licensed venues, including two outside Knox Ozone recently where one patron was king hit and another allegedly tried to break a police officer’s nose.

The Knox Liquor Accord is an agreement between police, council and licensed venues — including, pubs, bars, restaurants and bottle shops — which aims to reduce alcohol-fuelled anti-social behaviour.

Knox acting Inspector John Hess, who helped to launch the accord in 2002, said it would be a responsible alcohol service agreement that would do more to curb anti-social behaviour.

“The goal is to go over and above liquor licensing regulation,” Insp Hess said.

“We want best management practices by consensus.

“We want to go a little bit further than what legislation says.

“It’s not being pushed or forced by police.

“We’re looking for consensus that we have willing participants from licensees.”

Knox City Council chief executive Graeme Emonson said refreshing the accord would help to align it with knowledge and programs outlined in the Knox Community Safety Plan 2013-2017.

“This includes ensuring a focus on harm minimisation and a preventive approach to harmful alcohol consumption,” Mr Emonson said.

“As well as providing accord members with ongoing education and shared information forums. ”

Police and council are currently meeting with liquor licensees in the Knox area to discuss the best method of re-establishing the liquor accord.

Originally published as Accord to tackle boozy violence

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