Problem Gambling Linked To Domestic Violence

A report in the Geelong Advertiser notes that problem gambling and family violence are often related. Nicki Dowling, an associate professor at Deakin University, spoke about the issue to community services workers and the general public at a Geelong City Hall information session.

Dowling states that 38% of problem gamblers report family violence victimisation, while 37% identified being perpetrators. Her research indicates that there is certainly a link between gambling addiction and violence, and further investigation is required to learn more about this correlation.


“It is a big estimate based on a few studies, but we also found 56 per cent of problem gamblers report physical violence against their children,” Dowling says.

These findings were support by Grant Boyd of Bethany Community Support. He states that workers at the organisation noticed a connection between domestic violence and problem gambling.

“Problem gambling places great stress on relationships and families which can play out … and family violence is certainly part of the mix with some problem gambling clients,” Mr Boyd says.

Romantic partners seem to be the most common victims of domestic violence; however, children are also very deeply affected by their parents’ gambling addictions. There is a great deal of emotional stress that comes along with problem gambling, which influences the offspring of the gambling addict and can have a detrimental effect on their development.

Since problem gambling is related to many other kinds of domestic issues and addiction, support services are adopting a more comprehensive approach. During intake, counsellors have been advised to look for a wide range of potential problems. Mr Boyd continues:

“Often we are seeing a cluster of problems, and some of those might not always be obvious or identified upfront … it’s about asking questions and looking for indicators”.

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