The Group’s research has appeared in key science, criminology and medical journals. In the UK-wide 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, its work was highlighted as an area of “world-leading research.”
Major discoveries have included:
- Sharing anonymised information from accident and emergency units about violence locations and weapons significantly enhances violence prevention, compared to the safety levels achieved by police and local government agencies working alone. The implementation of this finding led to Cardiff becoming the safest city of its size in the UK.
- The impact of alcohol prices on the risk of injury from violence. Research published in 2006 showed that lower drink prices made violence more likely, and that this was the most influential of a range of social factors. This has helped development of Government policy on drink prices and promotions.
- The Group set up an entirely new National Violence Surveillance Network, based on information from a representative sample of 60 hospitals in England and Wales. National violence trends are published annually and have shown a steady decrease, with around 90,000 fewer cases treated in accident and emergency units in 2008 compared to 2000.
- Research on the management of stress from traumatic events. The team found that a single early psychological debriefing is either ineffective, or can do more harm than good. The Group advocated a stepped programme of care for victims which has been adopted nationally in the UK and Australia.
- That alcohol misuse not only makes people more likely to commit violence, but also to become victims. This established a link between binge drinking and vulnerability to assault. As a result the group and its partners have developed treatments for people injured in violence to advise them on their behaviour and prevent them becoming victims again.
- The predominance of facial injuries in violence. In one city-wide survey, these accounted for 85% of injuries. This finding established the hospital speciality of oral and maxillo-facial surgery as central in the care of victims of violence.
The team’s research continues, with current areas of interest including evaluation of the data sharing model, the movement of crowds in the build-up to violence, the safer design of licensed premises and the risk factors which make offending more likely among young people.