Intended for healthcare professionals


Using injury data for violence prevention

BMJ 2000; 321 doi: (Published 16 December 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:1481

Government proposal is an important step towards safer communities

  1. Jonathan P Shepherd, professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery (,
  2. Vaseekaran Sivarajasingam, lecturer,
  3. Frederick P Rivara, professor (
  1. Violence Research Group, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff CF14 4XY
  2. Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, University of Washington School of Medicine, 325 Ninth Avenue, Seattle, WA 98104-2499, USA

    The UK government has indicated that its plans to tackle community violence will be based not just on information about offences but also on injury data derived from emergency departments.1 This stems from evidence both nationally and internationally of the substantial extent to which violence that results in injury is not investigated by the police. 2 3

    In the 11 industrialised countries which took part in the 1996 international victimisation survey the median reporting rate of violent offences was 39%, ranging from 18% to 51%.4 In the UK only about 25% to 50% of offences which lead to treatment in emergency departments appear in police records, 5 6 a proportion consistent with the findings of biennial British crime surveys, which allow comparison of householders' accounts of crime with police records. One study in the US found that only 54% of assaults treated in an emergency department were documented by the police.7 A study of emergency department attendees carried out in Bristol showed that assaults on men and assaults occurring in bars, nightclubs, and public streets were less likely to …

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