Street chaplains in night-life hotspots may help create safer spaces

Embargoed until: Publicly released:
Introduction of street chaplains into night-life hot spots around Cairns has been linked to a decline in serious assaults, according to Australian research. The study which looked at police-recorded assaults, emergency department injury presentations and ambulance attendances and found that there were 1.6 fewer serious assaults per month following the introduction of the Cairns Street Chaplains. There were no significant changes in minor assaults, and injury presentations. The researchers say the study suggests that street service care may help create safer nightlife spaces, however more evidence is required from larger cities with larger nightlife spaces.

Journal/conference: Drug and Alcohol Review

DOI: 10.1111/dar.13009

Organisation/s: Deakin University, The University of Queensland

Funder: KC receives funding from Australian Research Council, and grants from the Queensland government. JF receives funding from the Australian Research Council and Australian National Health and Medical Research Council, both Federal and State Governments, Criminological Research Council and Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education. PM receives funding from Australian Research Council and Australian National Health and Medical Research Council, grants from NSW Government, National Drug Law Enforcement Research Fund, Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education, Cancer Council Victoria, Queensland government, Australian Drug Foundation, Australian Rechabites Foundation and Lives Lived well. He has received travel and related costs from Australasian Drug Strategy Conference, Queensland Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation, Northern Territory government and the World Congress on Public Health. He has acted as a paid expert witness on behalf of a licensed venue and a security firm. NT is receiving funding through an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship.

Media Release

From: Deakin University

The Queensland Government funds street service care providers to assist vulnerable and intoxicated individuals in and around its 15 largest nightlife spaces. Members of these organisations patrol the areas around bars and nightclubs to provide services, such as first aid and handing out water, to individuals in need. However, until now there had been no research conducted on their impact on crime, injuries, and on the duties of Australian frontline service resources (e.g. police, emergency department, and ambulance services). This study examined assault and injury trends in Cairns in order to determine how the introduction of the Cairns Street Chaplains influenced alcohol-related harm. The researchers found that serious assaults significantly decreased by 1.6 assaults a month after the introduction of the Cairns Street Chaplains. However, no significant changes were found in minor assaults, and injury presentations. This finding provides some preliminary evidence that street service care may help create safer nightlife spaces, however more evidence is required from larger cities with larger nightlife spaces.

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