Slater and Gordon criminal lawyer Ersel Akpinar is calling for more education for young adults, specifically before they reach the drinking age, about the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption to curb anti-social drunken behaviour that is now affecting innocent bystanders.
Mr Akpinar said new research conducted by the firm found that more than one quarter (26 per cent) of the more than 1,500 respondents who had visited an entertainment precinct had become involved in drunken behaviour as an innocent bystander.
“Drunken behaviour is unacceptable, but what makes it worse is when innocent bystanders are being roped into these incidents either to protect others or themselves,” Mr Akpinar said.
“Nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) of those were male and 37 per cent were female.
“What is even more startling is that nearly half of those respondents (45 per cent) who had become involved said it had happened on more than one occasion.”
Mr Akpinar said it was important to address the Australian culture of encouraging excessive drinking as though there is honour or valour associated with it.
“One of the solutions is to generate greater awareness that excessive alcohol consumption is extremely dangerous,” he said.
“That’s why more education is needed for the younger demographic so we don’t have yet another generation falling victim to the problems related with excessive drinking.
“People also need to take responsibility for their actions and stop perpetuating a culture of applauding those who drink alcohol to the extreme.”
Mr Akpinar said while not all respondents had become involved in drunken behaviour, 90 per cent said they had witnessed it while on a night out on the town.
“Perhaps this could be the reason why almost half (47 per cent) of those polled said that they were afraid to go out,” Mr Akpinar said.
“And the majority of parents (74 per cent) said the fear of drunken behaviour made them worry about their children when they were out.
“It is a great shame that this kind of behaviour is now preventing others from having an enjoyable night out.”