I've always thought that there was a link between alcohol abuse and domestic violence. Statistics do indicate a connection between alcohol and drug abuse and domestic violence. In fact, 92 % of domestic abuse assailants reported use of alcohol or other drugs on the day of the assault, according to an article in JAMA.
But there are other studies that question whether there is a cause-and-effect relationship. Although research indicates that among men who drink heavily, there is a higher rate of assaults resulting in injury, the majority of men classified as high-level drinkers do not abuse their partners. Also, the majority (76 percent) of physically abusive incidents occur in the absence of alcohol use. In short, it appears that alcohol does not and cannot make a man abuse a woman, but it is frequently used as an excuse. Many men drink and do not abuse anyone as a result. On the other hand many men abuse women when they are sober.
One of the vivid incidents in my life that still comes back to haunt me happened when I was in graduate school. I was having dinner at my major advisor's house. It was a late dinner which always happened there because happy "hour" generally lasted about five hours resulting in dinner around 10 PM.
Anyway, there was a knock on the door. I was closest so I opened the door. There stood an older woman naked from the waist up, with dark bruises on her torso, her lip busted and bleeding, and her eye blackened. She was crying and begging to come in saying that her husband had beat her up.
I remember feeling shock, horror, fear and anger all rushing at me at once. I must have been in shock because I invited her in as if she were another guest coming to dinner. My date also looked horrified but had the presence of mind to grab an afghan off the back of a chair to cover the lady.
By this time, my major adviser and his wife came in and seemed to be nonplussed. The wife lived next door. Evidently, the husband was a drunk who on occasion would take his frustrations out on his wife and beat her up. I wanted to call the police but was told that it was best to stay out of it--The couple would handle it "their" way. So after getting a shirt for the lady to wear and making sure that she wasn't going to die right away, my major adviser escorted the beaten wife home, found the husband passed out, and left her to take care of herself.
I wrote about in this post. I have read that getting the police involved can also trigger more violence.
Whether or not domestic violence is "caused" by alcohol seems academic when faced with the real thing. Experts have reached a consensus on several common characteristics among batterers -- they are controlling, manipulative, often see themselves as victims, and have major league denial. Abusers suffer from low self-esteem and don't take responsibility for their actions. They are filled with fear and seek to dominate someone else.
There are many informational sites on the web about domestic violence. Here is a list of some of them: http://alcoholism.about.com/od/abuse/Domestic_Abuse_and_Violence.htm