"Reports about young people being attacked or injured in fights when they go out at night are becoming increasingly common", Amador Calafat, lead author of the study and a researcher at the European Institute of Studies on Prevention (IREFREA), which is at the forefront of studies into problems of childhood and adolescence and drug abuse, tells SINC.
The research, published in the latest issue of the Journal Psicothema, analyses the phenomenon of violence among young Spaniards (under the age of 25), in particular in terms of factors related to the night-time leisure context, among a selected sample of 440 participants in the Balearic Islands, Galicia and Valencia who regularly go out at night and consume alcohol or other substances.
Of this sample, 11.6% had been attacked or threatened at some time. This percentage rose to 23% for fights. The research goes further, finding that 5.2% of the young people studied carry weapons when they go out at night. "Having been threatened or hurt with a weapon was associated with having frequent arguments related to the use of alcohol and drugs", Calafat explains.
The authors state that adolescence is a risk factor itself, since young people are more prone and vulnerable to this kind of behaviour. Some important aspects for preventing night-time violence relate to the way in which environmental conditions are managed. These include preventing crowds from building up, using soft music when bars and clubs close and bright lights when it is time to leave.
"In order to prevent night-time violence, alcohol consumption among young people should be controlled by offering water and soft drinks at affordable prices, steering away from 'happy hour'-type alcohol offers, and strictly ensuring that alcohol is not sold to underage drinkers", the researcher concludes.
Violence among young tourists
Tourist destinations in southern Europe attract young people because of the good times and night-time action they promise. In another study, financed by the European Commission Daphne programme, the same research group studied the behaviour of young British and German tourists who chose to spend their 2009 holidays in Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece and Cyprus.
The figures were impressive. Almost one-quarter of the study's participants (24%) visited bars and clubs every night during their holidays, and 95% consumed alcohol during their stay. More than two-thirds of the young respondents got drunk, and more than one in 10 took illegal drugs.
The 6,000 young tourists surveyed reported significant problems during their holidays. Almost 9% were sexually abused (7% of males and 10% of females), 6% suffered injuries and 4% were involved in cases of physical violence. More than half of the violent incidents (51%) took place in bars or nightclubs, while the rest (36%) took place on the street.
References: Nicole Blay, Amador Calafat; Montse Juan, Elisardo Becoña, Alejandro Mantecón, Marga Ros y Antoni Far: "Violence in nightlife environments and its relationship with the consumption of alcohol and drugs among young Spaniards". Psicothema, Volúmen 22, Número 3, 2010. http://www.psicothema.com/pdf/3743.pdf
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