Plan to tackle 'devastating impact' of alcohol-related violence being launched

Ministers are set to launch a crackdown on the causes of alcohol-fuelled violence as part of a new strategy.

The plan will look at how to better manage the licensing system, which was relaxed under Tony Blair.

It will also consider how to protect vulnerable people and help problem drinkers quit the bottle.

Official figures show alcohol played a part in 40% of violent crime in 2016-17.

In just over half of violent incidents between strangers, the perpetrator was drunk.

But more than a third of alcohol-related incidents take place in the home, and ministers are concerned that drink is a factor in "hidden" crimes such as domestic violence, sexual abuse and rape.

It is feared that victims of alcohol-related violence in the home could be isolated and less able to find help.

Home Office minister Victoria Atkins said: "The devastating impact of excessive drinking can all too often be seen on our streets but it also exacts a terrible toll within the home.

"It is a significant factor not only in domestic violence but also rape and child abuse and we want to explore what more we can do to help the most vulnerable victims.

"Ultimately we also need to break the cycle of excessive drinking and violence by getting more high-risk drinkers the help they need to quit for good."

As home secretary in 2012, Theresa May launched an alcohol strategy aimed at tackling binge drinking - which stopped short of introducing minimum pricing.

Scotland introduced a minimum unit price earlier this month, and Downing Street has said it will look at the evidence of whether the policy works there before making any decisions about whether England should follow suit.

The new strategy is due to report by the end of 2018.

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