In the mid-1980s a young maxillofacial surgeon noticed something unusual about the cases he was dealing with.
Jonathan Shepherd found he was treating ever-more assault victims suffering broken jaws and cheekbones. Yet many of these cases were never even reported to the police.
Professor Shepherd said: “There were people on my operating table every Thursday morning, injured by someone who was never brought to book. It wasn’t right. We needed to do better than this.”
Early research showed that the police never got to hear about seven out of every eight assaults in hospital premises which led to hospital treatment. Clearly, further study – and further action – was needed.
In 1996, the Violence and Society Research Group was founded at the Cardiff School of Dentistry. Today, it has 11 core members, combining expertise in Medicine, Psychology, Business and Dentistry. Their achievements include:
- Identifying previously unknown causes of violence, violence hot-spots and weapons
- The creation of the Cardiff Violence Prevention Group, sharing information with police, health services and other bodies to achieve a reduction in violence. This model has now been adopted across the UK
- Development of new care programmes for victims and offenders
Between them, Group members have published findings in more than 420 papers in leading journals. They lead national and international research networks and have introduced violence prevention to undergraduate dental courses. Their academic innovation and expertise has been recognised with awards including the Stockholm Prize for Criminology, the Sellin-Glueck Prize of the American Criminology Society – and now the Queen’s Anniversary Prize.