Date of this Version
The aim of this study was to assess the influence alcohol consumption on violence within a public bar in a university setting. This replicates earlier studies by Homel and colleagues on pubs and nightclubs in cities and tourist precincts throughout Australia since the late 1980s. However, the specific focus of the present study was on a licensed venue within a university campus environment ─ an observational project that has not previously been undertaken in this country.
The observations were made by both undergraduate and postgraduate students enrolled in a criminology research methods subject. The same observation questionnaire used in the previous studies (1993, 1994, 1996 and 1999) was utilised in this data collection phase with some minor amendments. The data were collected from a single establishment over a period of five weeks between 17 February and 20 March 2004. The majority of the observations were made between 6.30pm to 8.30pm and 10.00pm to 12.30am on Thursday nights.
The overall findings revealed that violence was minimal during the observation period, with only one real incident of note, which occurred outside the facility and had no intervention of staff. Around one-third of all males displayed medium levels of drunkenness, while just under one-third of females displayed the same level of drunkenness. Males constituted up to three-quarters of the patrons, but tended to be observed in groups of mixed sex. This study suggests that practices in place in university settings may be ‘more responsible’ than at major commercial venues. However, the fact that Australia’s ‘wet drinking culture’ prevails certainly requires attention.