Skip to main content

Serious violence in England and Wales drops 12% in 2013

23 April 2014

Violent man being restrained by a paramedic
Violent man being restrained by a paramedic

Numbers of people injured in serious violence dropped by 12% in 2013 compared to 2012, according to an England and Wales study by Cardiff University.

Overall, an estimated 234,509 people attended Emergency Departments (EDs), Minor Injury Units (MIUs) and Walk-in Centres in England and Wales for treatment following violence in 2013 – 32,780 fewer than in 2012.

The data was gathered from a scientific sample of 117 EDs, MIUs and Walk-in Centres in England and Wales. All are certified members of the National Violence Surveillance Network (NVSN).

Lead author of the study and Director of the Violence and Society Research Group at Cardiff University, Professor Jonathan Shepherd said: "The data show another significant year on year fall in serious violence across England and Wales. Apart from a 7% increase in 2008, levels of serious violence have fallen every year since 2001.

"Violence is falling in many Western countries and we don't know all the reasons why," said Professor Shepherd. "In England and Wales, the growth of multi-agency violence prevention involving police, the NHS and local authorities may well be a factor; violence has fallen more in regions where this is best organised. Another probable explanation is changes in alcohol habits. Binge drinking has become less frequent, and the proportion of youth who don't drink alcohol at all has risen sharply. Also, after decades in which alcohol has become more affordable, since 2008 it has become less affordable. For people most prone to involvement in violence, those aged 18-30, falls in disposable income are probably an important factor.

"Continuing, substantial decreases in serious violence are welcome for citizens, communities and in combatting the fear of crime. They also decrease the costs of violence to health services and the criminal justice system and reduce pressures on hard pressed A&Es late at night at the weekend."

Serious violence affecting all age groups decreased in 2013 compared to 2012 including falls among youth (down 18%); males and females (down 19.1% and 14.1% respectively) and young adults (down 14%; males and females down 14.3% and 13.3% respectively).

The findings confirmed the demographic that those most at risk of serious violence-related injury continue to be males aged 18-30. Violence-related attendance at Emergency Departments was most frequent on Saturday and Sunday.