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Friday, 4 January, 2002, 17:24 GMT
Counselling for drink-induced crime
Police video of man being arrested for attack
A man is arrested following an alcohol-induced attack
A research programme to stop the repetition of alcohol-induced violent crime is being sponsored by the Welsh Assembly

As part of the three-year scheme, offenders will be offered the option of taking part in the voluntary research immediately after they are dealt with at magistrates court.

Professor Jonathan Shepherd
Professor Jonathan Shepherd is leading the research

The aim is to reduce the number of late night violent attacks on the streets of Wales's major cities.

Welsh Health Minister Jane Hutt said the research will test whether counselling can reduce repeat violent offending, alcohol misuse by offenders and assault-related accidental injury.

"Alcohol misuse causes many problems in our society, problems which sometimes result in violence and injury," she said.

"The aim of the counselling, or brief alcohol intervention, is to help the recipient realise that there are viable alternatives to excessive alcohol use.

Drinking behaviour

"In the past encouragement to change drinking behaviour has often included persuasion and confrontation which is not always effective."

The assembly is providing more than 180,000 to fund the three year research beginning in April.

The project will be led by Professor Jonathan Shepherd from the University of Wales College of Medicine.

Speaking to BBC Wales on Friday, Professor Shepherd said that there were signs that violence involving alcohol was being controlled.

"But there's no room for complacency and levels are still far too high, particularly in centres like Swansea and Cardiff," he said.

Police video of attack on man
The aim of the research is to reduce violent attacks

The emphasis had to remain on law enforcement working in partnership with health and social services.

"This project focuses on the immediate aftermath of violence and the belief that a short burst of concentrated treatment can deal effectively with alcohol problems," he said.

"It's got to be good for us all if we can reduce offending, reduce injury and improve health for young adults."

See also:

01 Feb 01 | Health
6bn bill for alcohol abuse
24 Oct 01 | Wales
Calling time on pub violence
21 Dec 01 | Health
What happens when you get drunk
20 Dec 01 | South Asia
Drink drives elephant to kill
10 Dec 01 | Health
Death warning to young drinkers
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