Alcohol and violence

There’s no doubt that alcohol and violence go hand in hand. In over half of all cases of assault, the perpetrator was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In one third of the cases, the victim had been drinking too. And young people are often those involved. 


 People who are drunk are more likely to fall victim to unprovoked violence than those who are sober, probably because you aren’t as good at keeping an eye on things when you’re drunk. If you were sober, you might avoid eye contact or take a different route if you encounter someone who wants to fight. When you’re drunk, your protective mechanisms may not work as well as they normally do. 

"If we can prevent young people getting hold of alcohol, we can reduce the risk both of them committing offences and being the victim of them.”  

Patrick Widell, Chief Inspector of Police and Regional Coordinator for Crime Prevention, Stockholm.


Boys are more commonly involved in violence than girls. Thankfully however, as the alcohol consumption has decreased amongst youth, so has the violence. One in every four of boys in year 2 of upper secondary school who drink alcohol have that ended up in a fight or with an injury when they’ve been drinking. Compared to 13 per cent of boys and five per cent of girls, ten years ago.

All your emotions come to the surface when you're drunk and you tell people what you really think. And then some people get mad and you end up with a fight.

Paulina, aged 15, Örebro


Most fights involve two young males from the same age group. The reason for the fight can be trivial, such as supporting the wrong football team or accidentally bumping into someone.

Much of the violence takes place in public spaces, such as in and around food outlets that are open late at night, or on public transport. It’s also common in the sort of places where a lot of young people gather – at parties, in parks, or during festivals. Talk to your teenager about avoiding unnecessary risks.  

More to read about the same topic

Useful contacts and more info

It can sometimes be good to talk to someone who knows a bit more about teenagers and alcohol, or about anything else, for that matter.

If you want to do more

There’s a lot you can do to support and be there for teenagers. Maybe you can take part in night-time patrols, or make it easier for them to say “no”, or help promote a smarter approach to alcohol in some other way.

Other important topics to read about

When parents are not around

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