Headlines: July 15th, 2008

The numbers of people being admitted to hospital in England as a result of violence has risen by almost a third in four years, according to a study published online today ahead of appearing in print in the ‘Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health’. The study also found a big difference in rates of admissions between those living in the most affluent and most deprived areas of the country.

The research team analysed emergency admissions to hospitals between 2002 and 2006, during which time more than 120,000 people were admitted as a direct result of violence. They found rates of admission increased by just under 30 per cent over the period of the study.

Saturday and Sunday saw peaks in admissions for violent assault with about a fifth of the total being admitted at the weekend. Admission rates in the most deprived areas were more than six times higher than those in the most affluent areas. Children in the poorest fifth of the country were five times more likely to be admitted due to violent assault than those in the most affluent fifth.

A breakdown of the figures also showed that men were almost six times more likely to be admitted as a result of violent assault and that most of these cases occurred in the 15 to 29 age bracket. The report shows that in total at least two and a half million people in England and Wales are victims of violence every year and the researches estimate that violence against the person cost more than 24 billion pounds billion in 2003 alone, with the NHS picking up more than two billion pounds of that bill.

The report says, “The direct contribution violence makes to health inequalities is likely to be significant, with around 30,000 mainly poorer individuals requiring emergency hospital admissions each year and 10 times that number presenting to A&E.”

It concludes that such violence is not only damaging short and long term health but is also acting as an incubator for the development of violent adults and people who are more likely to be abused in later life.