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University of Colombo, Sri Lanka
Title: Physical Harms Caused by Others' Drinking; an analysis data drawn from a sample of victims reporting to law enforcement agencies in Sri Lanka 

Siri Hettige is the Professeur of Department of Sociology


Study of harms caused by others' drinking is a growing area of research today. This paper is based on  recent research conducted in Sri Lanka as part of a multi-country scoping study on institutional responses to harms to others supported by Thai Health and WHO. Even though the study involved conducting interviews with a larger sample of cases drawn from health, social services and law enforcement agencies, the present analysis is confined to a sample of 200 victims reporting to Police stations in selected locations. Preliminary analysis of case study data, though cannot be generalized at a population level, reveals some interesting patterns. What is noteworthy at the outset is that these individuals have felt the need to come to a law enforcement agency, indicating a higher level of negative impact of the incidents on victims.  The vast majority of the victims are young to middle aged married women with children. A majority of these women are from rural areas, often not employed and manage with relatively low household incomes. The most complaints are physical attacks ( 47 %) , argument/threat (30 %), attack on child (7.6 %) and sexual assault (4.4 %). 78 % of the incidents have taken place at own home, while, in 58 %of the cases, children have been present at the time. In 98 % of the cases, perpetrator has been male, while, in 63 % of the incidents, perpetrator has been living in the same house with the victim. It is significant that about 87 percent of the cases, perpetrator has been intoxicated with alcohol. However, in about 22 % of the cases, victims have stated that the incidents would have happened even without any involvement of alcohol, indicating the significance of other factors.  It is significant that 87 % of the victims have answered the question as to whether someone drinking had harmed her or him during the last twelve months in the affirmative. In the vast majority of these cases (65 %), partner has been the perpetrator.  In conclusion, the most common form of victimization reported to law enforcement is intimate partner violence leading to physical harm to women caused by male spouses under the influence of alcohol. Both the victim and the perpetrator are living in the same household and the vast majority of violent incidents take place in the presence of their own children

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