Fall in violence in UK, study finds

Apr 19, 2011

Injuries from assault requiring hospital treatment fell by more than 10 per cent last year, the University’s Violence and Society Research Group has found.

The Group’s annual survey of hospital emergency attendances found a violence injury rate of 5.72 people for every 1,000 residents. This represents 313,033 people in England and Wales needing treatment after assault – a 10.8 per cent fall since 2009. There were particularly large decreases among two of the highest risk groups - teenagers and young adults. The overall fall continues the downward trend in violence injuries found in the last ten years.

Worryingly, the team found an increase in violent injuries among children aged under 11 for the second year running.

The Group, winner of a Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2009, surveys a structured sample of hospitals every year, analyzing anonymised data about patients treated for violence-related injuries. The 2010 survey found 11 per cent fewer males and 8 per cent fewer females needing treatment. Serious violence fell in all age groups between 11 and 50. The largest decreases were a 16.5 per cent fall for those aged 11 to 17, and 11.3 per cent for those aged 18 to 30.

Professor Jonathan Shepherd, Director of the Violence and Society Research Group, said: "We have been conducting the survey for ten years now, and this is one of the largest overall reductions we have seen. During this period, violence has fallen in every year except one, and this trend is confirmed by other studies based on police data. There have been particularly important falls this year in some of the most vulnerable groups – teenagers and young adults.

"The reasons for this downward trend in violence are unclear. Over the last ten years, targeted policing has increased in England and Wales, focussing more on specific locations where violence is common. Health services, local authorities and other agencies have contributed more since crime prevention partnerships were introduced in 1998. We do not believe the economic downturn of the last three years is a factor, as the fall in violence started several years before that."

However, the team did find a 20 per cent rise in children under 11 who needed emergency hospital treatment. While the overall numbers remain small, the rise follows an 8 per cent increase in 2009.

Professor Shepherd, of the School of Dentistry, added: "The figures for the last two years show a disturbing upward trend in violence against children. Again, the reasons are unclear, but the figures highlight the need for child safeguarding to remain a national priority. It is vital that the Munro Review, due to report this month, results in further action to improve the quality of our child protection services."

As in previous years, the violence survey found that males were at a higher risk of than females and that the 18 to 30 age group were most likely to be victims. Violence-related hospital attendance is consistently most frequent on Saturday and Sunday, and peaks between May and October.

Explore further: When rulers can't understand the ruled

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

The drink and violence ?gender gap?

Dec 16, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Women and men are at the same risk of violence - until they start drinking, new research from Cardiff University has shown.

Relationship violence appears common among college students

Jul 07, 2008

Violence between partners, friends and acquaintances appears prevalent both during and before college, according to results of a survey of students at three urban college campuses published in the July issue of Archives of ...

Recommended for you

Study examines use of GIS in policing

38 minutes ago

Police agencies are using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for mapping crime, identifying crime "hot spots," assigning officers, and profiling offenders, but little research has been done about the effectiveness of the ...

When rulers can't understand the ruled

17 hours ago

Johns Hopkins University political scientists wanted to know if America's unelected officials have enough in common with the people they govern to understand them.

When casualties increased, war coverage became more negative

21 hours ago

As the number of U.S. casualties rose in Afghanistan, reporters filed more stories about the conflict and those articles grew increasingly negative about both the war effort and the military, according to a Penn State researcher. ...

User comments : 0