The Australian Rechabite Foundation (ARF) is a charitable trust registered with the Australian Taxation Office as a Private Ancillary Fund and was established in 2009 by IOR Friendly Society Limited as part of its demutualisation process.
The Independent Order of Rechabites Friendly Societies started in Australia 150 years ago as temperance mutual aid societies offering alcohol free social interaction as well as financial benefits for their members. As a private ancillary fund, the Australian Rechabite Foundation is separate from the state based Independent Order of Rechabites, which continue as membership organisations in several States. The ARF’s programs continue to align with the Rechabite’s temperance ideals, in supporting research and evidence-based community projects and studies with the goal of building knowledge of the harmful effects of alcohol.
The Australian Rechabite Foundation believes it is essential to support quality research into the harmful effects of alcohol. With these studies and research, advocates are able to more effectively lobby government, educate the community and counter the message of alcohol related industries. The ARF also sees benefit in supporting community groups working directly to enable, encourage and support change within communities and individuals with respect to alcohol abuse.
The Australian Rechabite Foundation has supported two PhD students with doctoral fellowships in conjunction with the Sidney Myer Foundation. These three year fellowships finished in 2012. One was a study of the effects of changes in alcohol availability on rates of alcohol problems. In recent decades, liquor licensing in much of Australia has been liberalized. The study shows that increasing the density of alcohol outlets has resulted in more violence on the street and in the home, more injuries, and more chronic health problems. Results from the research are already providing crucial evidence for liquor licensing decisions.
The other was a study of the adverse impacts of adults’ drinking on children. One in 8 Australian families report that someone’s drinking has adversely affected one or more of their children in the last year. Child protection services intervene in the more serious cases, particularly in poorer families; alcohol misuse is involved in one-third of all child protection cases in Victoria. The dissertation’s studies of adverse effects of drinking on children both in the general population and in the child protection caseload will inform policy and case management, diminishing the impact of alcohol in family life.
The Australian Rechabite Foundation
“Building knowledge of the harmful effects of alcohol and informing lifestyle choices that enable, encourage and support change within communities and individuals.”