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Reducing violent crime

We are reducing violence through research, new use of data and original collaborations between medicine and criminal justice.

Two police officers

Jonathan Shepherd, a Cardiff University professor and maxillofacial surgeon, noticed he was treating more and more assault victims suffering broken jaws and cheekbones. More than half of these cases (65%) weren't being reported to the police.

Professor Shepherd said: "There were people on my operating table every week, injured by someone who was never brought to book. It was a real shock to discover that large numbers of violent offences were not known to the police."

Measuring violence

To study violence in more depth and prevent it more effectively, Professor Shepherd founded the Violence and Society Research Group and its prevention arm, the Cardiff Violence Prevention Group. The latter group was a prototype Safety Partnership, and is included as a blueprint in the Crime and Disorder Act.

The Violence and Society Group developed the Cardiff Model, an entirely new way of preventing violence, in which data from hospitals is shared with the police and local authorities. Receptionists at Emergency Departments record the location and weapon used from people injured in violence, and this information is anonymised and combined with police data to inform violence prevention strategy and tactics.

Award winning research

Our research has been recognised internationally, winning the 2009 Queen's Anniversary Prize, the 2008 Stockholm Prize in Criminology and the 2003 Sellin-Glueck Award of the American Criminology Society.

Reducing violence in Cardiff

Through the Cardiff Model, the Group has helped achieve big cuts in community violence:

  • Numbers of violence victims treated in Cardiff Emergency Departments halved between 2002 and 2013
  • 39% reduction in violence inside licensed premises
  • 42% reduction in hospital admissions and violence recorded by the police (relative to 14 similar UK cities)
  • Circa £5M saved per year on Cardiff's health, social and criminal justice costs (with £6.9M saved in 2007)

Research carried out by the Group has also had an impact outside Cardiff:

  • Both the UK government and the College of Emergency Medicine have adopted the Cardiff Model across the UK. In 2012, two-thirds of Emergency Units and Community Safety Partnerships had taken steps to adopt this approach.
  • The Dutch government has funded the implementation of the Cardiff Model in all seven of Amsterdam's hospitals. A national strategy has been developed to implement this more widely, based on initial findings.
  • The National Violence Surveillance Network was first developed by the Group in 1995, and now consists of 117 Emergency Departments in England and Wales. Based on information from Emergency Departments, the group publishes annual reports on trends in violence. These reports have brought clarity to confusing trends identified in police and crime survey data.

Meet our experts

Professor Jonathan Shepherd

Professor Jonathan Shepherd

Emeritus Professor in Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, Crime and Security Research Institute


The Group comprises medical and social scientists, economists, psychologists, academic clinicians and practitioners from across the University.