Australia

Study exposes 'clear' Origin link to DV

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A new study has exposed a link between increased domestic violence in NSW and State of Origin matches.

The NRL is under pressure to address alcohol sponsorship after a "crystal clear" link was found between State of Origin matches and spikes in domestic violence across NSW.

Researchers from La Trobe University's Centre for Alcohol Policy Research analysed six years' worth of crime data and uncovered a 40 per cent surge in domestic violence on Origin game days in NSW.

The study also found a 71 per cent increase in non-domestic assaults.

There was no statistically-significant spike in Victoria, where there is substantially lower interest in rugby league.

The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education said while the drivers of such violence were complex and many, the link with Origin fixtures was "crystal clear".

FARE's research manager Dr Melanie Pescud says the onus is on the NRL to acknowledge the data and outline a plan to remedy the problem, such as addressing alcohol sponsorship.

"The way that alcohol is so heavily marketed and promoted is a massive problem - it is so highly visible," she told AAP on Friday.

"The alcohol industry is clearly spending a lot of money on sponsorship arrangements to encourage people to drink more."

Dr Pescud says fingers should also be pointed at other sporting codes linked to alcohol.

The study's release comes before Sunday's second Origin match at Sydney Olympic Park, which will feature a "monster marquee" at the "Tooheys New Sheds" including a 50-metre bar.

The NSW parliament has previously considered tough restrictions on alcohol advertising contained in a bill introduced by Christian Democrat Fred Nile.

Sporting codes criticised the move by pointing to a detrimental effect on revenue, harming grassroots clubs.

Jaymes Boland-Rudder, the NRL's head of government and community relations, in March told a government committee the value of NRL alcohol sponsorship was "in the millions of dollars".

He refused to give an exact figure, citing commercial-in-confidence concerns, but said it constituted about three per cent of revenue.

The committee found strict regulation of alcohol advertising had an "integral role" to play in addressing "significant health and social costs" of alcohol-related harm.

But it recommended the bill not be passed.

The committee suggested the government consider a strategy to phase out alcohol sponsorship in sport over time "in a way that ensures sporting clubs and organisations are not financially disadvantaged".

The government is due to respond by October.

A spokeswoman for Pru Goward, the Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, said the government was committed to addressing drivers of domestic violence including alcohol abuse.

The NRL has not responded to requests for comment.

1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

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