The impact of Indigenous-led programs on alcohol-related criminal incidents: a multiple baseline design evaluation

Publication Name

Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health


Objectives: To evaluate the impact of a multi-component, Aboriginal-led strategy to reduce alcohol-related criminal incidents for Aboriginal people in four rural/remote communities in New South Wales (NSW), Australia. Methods: A retrospective multiple baseline design (MBD), using interrupted time series analysis of routinely collected crime data. Results: A statistically significant reduction in alcohol-related criminal incidents was observed in one community for both victims of crime (parameter estimate −0.195; p≤0.01) and persons of interest (parameter estimate −0.282; p≤0.001). None of the analyses show level shifts, meaning there were no measurable changes immediately post the introduction of the Breaking the Cycle (BTC) programs. Conclusions: It is not possible to conclude that the program was effective independently of any other community factors, because the statistically significant result was not observed across multiple communities. The statistically significant result in one community has clear practical benefits in that community: a sustained impact over two years would reduce Aboriginal victims of alcohol-related crime from an estimated 56 incidents per annum to 36, and reduce Aboriginal persons of interest in alcohol-related crime from an estimated 68 alcohol-related person of interest (POI) per annum to 40. Implications for public health: The statistically and practically meaningful result in Community 1 highlights the potential of multi-component, Aboriginal-led strategies to reduce alcohol-related criminal incidents. Earlier engagement with researchers, to identify best-evidence strategies to reduce alcohol harms and to facilitate the use of prospective evaluation designs, would help translate the positive outcome in one community across multiple communities.

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