Overall, an estimated 211,514 people attended Emergency Departments (EDs), Minor Injury Units (MIUs) and Walk-in Centres in England and Wales for treatment following violence in 2014 - 22,995 fewer than in 2013.
Serious violence affecting all age groups decreased in 2014 compared to 2013. Most notably, recorded acts of violence against children (0-10 year olds) and adolescents (11-17 year olds) were marked by an 18% decline.
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), which has published an annual report for the past 15 years.
Lead author of the study and Director of the Violence Research Group at Cardiff University, Professor Jonathan Shepherd, said: "Our study demonstrates a substantial decrease in violence-related injuries for both men and women in 2014 compared to 2013. Since 2010, we have identified a decline of over 30% in people needing treatment in Emergency Departments after violence.
"Most encouraging is that attacks against children and adolescents are down by nearly a fifth. This trend could be attributed to a number of things from improved child safeguarding policies in the wake of the 'Baby P' tragedy to increased information sharing on community violence between the NHS, police and local government.
"These substantial year-on-year decreases in serious violence are welcome news for citizens and communities across England and Wales. Moreover, costs imposed on health services and the criminal justice system by violence have been substantially reduced along with burdens on stretched Emergency Departments.
"And yet it isn't all good news; our findings suggest that the issue of alcohol-related violence endures, with violence-related Emergency Department attendance consistently at its highest levels on weekends. As we emerge from the economic downturn we must ensure that the affordability of alcohol does not increase. Over 200,000 people across England and Wales going to Emergency Departments with injuries caused by violence are still far too many."
The findings confirmed the demographic that those most at risk of serious violence-related injury continue to be males aged 18-30. Overall, apart from a 7% increase in 2008, there have been decreases in every year since 2001, according to this measure.
*Methods used to compile the report and findings in previous years have all been subject to peer review and have been published in the Journal of Public Health and in the journal, Injury.
Notes to Editors
The decline in violence according to these Emergency Department data is similar to trends identified in the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW); overall CSEW violence in England and Wales has been in decline since the mid-1990s.
The full text of the NVSN annual report is attached. The data is not broken down by region.
For further information please contact:
Tomas Llewelyn Barrett
Tel: 029 20 875 596
Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain's leading teaching and research universities and is a member of the Russell Group of the UK's most research intensive universities. Among its academic staff are two Nobel Laureates, including the winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine, University Chancellor Professor Sir Martin Evans. Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, today the University combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University's breadth of expertise encompasses: the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; the College of Biomedical and Life Sciences; and the College of Physical Sciences and Engineering, along with a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning. Cardiff's four flagship Research Institutes are offering radical new approaches to cancer stem cells, catalysis, neurosciences and mental health and sustainable places.