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14% reduction in serious violence in England and Wales

22 April 2024

Two police officers

Serious violence in England and Wales has reduced by 14%, reflecting substantial reductions in violence affecting 18-30 year olds, according to a new report by Cardiff University.

The University’s Violence Research Group found that an estimated 141,804 people attended Emergency Departments in England and Wales for violence-related injury in 2023, down 22,919 or 14% from 2022. This decrease resumes the steady downward trajectory of violence after the marked fall and subsequent increase in the years of the COVID-19 epidemic.

Emergency hospital treatment for violence-related injury among most age groups decreased in 2023 compared to 2022 and included a 3.7% decrease in 11-17 year olds, a 25% decrease in 18-30 year olds, and a 15.8% decrease among 31-50 year olds.

In contrast, among the youngest (aged 0-10 years) and the oldest (those aged 51 years and older) age groups there were increases in serious injury caused by violence, with a  52.8% increase in violence in 0-10 year olds and a 7.7% increase in those over 50.

This report on serious violence in England and Wales in 2023 is based on data from 219 Emergency Departments, Minor Injury Units and Walk-in-Centres.

Professor Jonathan Shepherd of Cardiff University’s Violence Research Group and co-author of the report, said: “In 2023, the decreases in serious violence harm was greater among males, down 18%, than females, down 5%.

Our research demonstrates a substantial fall in injury sustained in violence in England and Wales in 2023 compared with 2022, primarily  driven by reductions among people aged 18 to 30.
Professor Jonathan Shepherd Professor Emeritus in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

“The estimated 53% increase in emergency violence-related emergency department attendances of children aged 0-10 needs to be treated with considerable caution because numbers were low, 1279 in 2023, and have fluctuated between years. For example, the estimated number in 2022 was 699.”

The report found that in 2023, males were twice as likely as females to be treated for violence related injury. Overall, this was more frequent at weekends than on weekdays and in the month of May – trends similar to those observed in previous years.

Professor Shepherd added: “The implementation of strategies are likely to be a major cause for the substantial falls in emergency hospital treatment of people injured in violence in 2023, compared to 2022. These strategies  include organised joint prevention implemented by the police, local authorities, and the NHS, and precision policing.

“The decrease among adults aged 18-30 may also reflect that they are staying at home with their parents longer than previously.

Serious violence in England and Wales, according to our report, has decreased by 55% since 2010 and by 66% since 2001. England and Wales are much safer now.
Professor Jonathan Shepherd Professor Emeritus in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

This 24th annual report on serious violence in England and Wales is produced by the Violence Research Group, part of the University’s Security, Crime and Intelligence Innovation Institute. It is based on data from the National Violence Surveillance Network of Emergency Departments led by Professor Vaseekaran Sivarajasingam.