Drunk women as likely to fight in pubs as men

Posted by on Apr 7, 2012 in Women Behaving Badly | No Comments

Drunk women as likely to fight in pubs as men

Newsquest (Sunday Herald) Limited


By Judith Duffy, Health Correspondent


BINGE drinking women are just as likely to be involved in fights in pubs as men, according to groundbreaking research into violence and alcohol.

Researchers involved in the study, the first of its kind in the UK, found that “relatively large” numbers of women of all ages were getting involved in scuffles in licensed premises. Two cases even involved drunken pregnant women at the centre of the aggression.

Some experts believe the findings are another example of the growth in popularity of the “ladette” culture, popularised by celebrities such as Zoe Ball, Sara Cox and Jordan.

Community safety officer Inspector John Duffy, of Strathclyde Police, said there had been a growth of ladette culture in the past 20 years.

He said: “Young women are now more emancipated in that they socialise more freely and use alcohol more freely than they would have in the past.

“The spin-off is risk-taking behaviour and drunkenness, and you see that on the streets.”

Dr Alasdair Forsyth, of Glasgow Caledonian University, who led the study, said the research showed that any assumption that violence was restricted to drunk men was wrong. He said: “Women were just as involved in as much trouble as men and seemed to be getting as drunk as men.”

But Forsyth disputed the notion that women binge drinking was necessarily a new phenomenon.

He explained: “There is some evidence that it has maybe always been like that, but for a variety of reasons it has been more hidden.

“I came across a paper describing women drinking and fighting in West Yorkshire. It did not give a date, but it must have happened some time ago as it talked about fighting on trams .”

Researchers employed on the survey visited a number of licensed premises in Glasgow to witness alcohol-related violence first hand. Although they found a surprising number of women involved, they also discovered fewer aggressive incidents within pubs than anticipated.

Nikki Boyle, alcohol health promotion officer at NHS Greater Glasgow, said the consequences of binge drinking ranged from short-termrisky behaviour, such as unsafe sex, to long-term damage to health .

She said: “There has been more of a focus recently on women’s drinking – it is more to do with the fact that research has shown women nowadays are drinking more than they did do in the past.

“Women are catching up [on men] and displaying the samerisk-taking behaviour .”

The project was guided by a steering group involving Alcohol Focus Scotland, Glasgow City Council, Greater Glasgow Alcohol Action Team, Greater Glasgow NHS Board, Strathclyde Licensed Trade Association and Strathclyde Police.

Its aim was to identify factors associated with licensed premises that may encourage binge drinking and alcohol-related violence or disorder.

Observers returned eye witness accounts from eight selected pubs in Glasgow city centre on Friday and Saturday nights during summer 2004. A postal questionnaire of pubs and face-to-face interviews with bar staff were also carried out.

Other key findings were that many of the pubs appeared to promote irresponsible consumption of alcohol .

Larger pub chains, in particular, were found trying to get round measures to curb binge drinking, such as the Glasgow ban on “happy hours”.

Forsyth said: “ The big boys have lawyers and can maybe find their way around it.”

However, Forsyth argued that increasing prices in supermarkets rather than in pubs would be a more effective way to tackle problem drinking.

He said: “It’s better people drink in pubs rather than on the street or at home. There’s a level of supervision and you don’t buy a massive carry-out.”

Michael McHugh, president of the Strathclyde Licensed Trade Association, agreed with the report’s recommendation that pubs should be marketed as social rather than drinking venues. “We have all seen the damage that does to our society,” he added.

Jack Law, chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, said: “Pubs should aspire to be social venues, not drinking dens .

15 May 2005

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