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Annual violence survey

21 April 2010

Professor Jonathan ShepherdProfessor Jonathan Shepherd

Serious violence in England and Wales fell by 0.4 per cent last year, according to the annual Violence and Society Research Group survey of hospital casualty departments.

The study, published today, found an estimated 350,010 people attended emergency departments for treatment of violence-related injuries in 2009. The figure is 1,500 fewer than in 2008.

The Research Group started the annual survey in 2001. It has recorded a fall in serious violence every year apart from 2008, when there was a 6.6 per cent rise on the previous year. There were an estimated 64,000 fewer violence-related hospital cases in 2009 compared to 2001.

The study is based on data from a sample of 44 Emergency Departments and Walk-in Centres across England and Wales, all members of the National Violence Surveillance Network. Violence-related attendances were most common on Saturday and Sunday. They peaked in March, May and August, and were least likely in November and December.

The figures also showed that three-quarters of violence victims were male and half were aged between 18 and 30. These trends were similar to previous years. However, last year saw a 7.5 per cent increase in children aged ten and below attending hospital with injuries from violence.

Professor Jonathan Shepherd, School of Dentistry and Director of the Violence and Society Research Group, said: "Last year’s figures for violence-related attendances show only a slight fall on 2008. We should remember that the overall trend remains downwards. Our study has shown a fall of just over 15 per cent since 2001. However, this year’s figures and last year’s show there is still some way to go in tackling serious violence in this country."

The independent Cardiff study has become established over the past decade as a national source of data on violence, alongside police records and the British Crime Survey. In February, the Violence and Society Research Group was awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher Education, in part for its work using health service data to tackle violent crime.

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