Size Matters: Higher Licensed Venue Capacity Linked to Greater Risk of Alcohol-Related Violence

Disproportionately more assaults occur in higher-capacity licensed venues than in their smaller counterparts, according to an Australian study reported in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. Licensed premises are high-risk settings for violent incidents, and a sizeable proportion of all alcohol-related violence occurs within them. Factors linked to aggressive in-venue behavior include inadequate seating, inconvenient bar access, crowded spaces, and drunkenness – which are all more likely in venues with more people (and hence in higher-capacity premises). However, although venue capacity had been proposed as a risk factor for on-premises violence, most previous research has focused on the relationship between crowding and aggression, and on the impact of longer trading hours. In the current study, therefore, researchers investigated the association between venue capacity and the number of violent incidents on-premises; the impact of longer opening hours was also assessed.