Considering the role of alcohol and sexual assault in social contexts

Key messages

  • Alcohol is a feature in a high proportion of sexual assaults.
  • It appears that alcohol has a multi-faceted role in facilitating sexual assault.
  • There are social and gender issues around alcohol consumption that perpetrators are able to exploit to their advantage.
  • Alcohol is used as a tool by perpetrators to increase victim vulnerability and enhance their own confidence.
  • Alcohol is used as an excuse by perpetrators to reduce their culpability and accountability.
  • Alcohol may be consumed voluntarily by victims or perpetrators may coerce consumption or covertly administer alcohol.
  • Alcohol on its own is not a causative factor for sexual assault but it acts together with social and cultural factors that influence behaviour in relation to social scripts and sexual interactions.

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