Cardiff violence study sees 4% drop in hospital cases

Image caption Male victims of violence outnumber females three to one, according to the report

There has been a "substantial decline" in people admitted to Welsh hospitals after suffering violence-related injuries over the last 15 years.

Academics at Cardiff University found the rate of serious violence dropped from 10.1 injuries per 1,000 residents in 1997 to 5.7 in 2008 in Wales.

Their annual study for 2011 shows casualty treatment for violence fell 4% overall in England and Wales.

News that Wales has seen a sharp decline in incidents has been welcomed.

An estimated 307,998 people in England and Wales were injured in 2011, 10,879 fewer than in 2010.

Prof Jonathan Shepherd, one of the report authors, said: "We are also pleased to see the substantial decline in violence in Wales over the past 15 years, narrowing the traditional gap with England."

For the first time the Violence and Society Research Group analysed separate violence trends for both England and Wales used data from 42 hospitals.

Although figures for individual hospitals have not been made public, those participating include Wrexham Maelor, Glan Clwyd, Denbighshire; Ysbyty Gwynedd, Bangor; Swansea's Morriston; and Cardiff's University Hospital of Wales

'Sharper fall'

They found the rate of serious violence was consistently lower in England than in Wales between 1995 and 2009 with 12.6 injuries per 1000 Welsh men and 7.6 for English men.

However, while the trend has not fluctuated greatly in England, there has been a marked drop in Wales from 10.1 injuries per 1000 residents in 1997 to 5.7 in 2008.

This narrowed the gap between the two nations from 5.2 per 1000 residents in 1997 to 0.4 in 2008.

Prof Shepherd said: "Reasons for the differences between the two countries are unclear, but are likely to be linked to divides in health and prosperity, as well educational, environmental and lifestyle influences.

"We are also unsure why Wales has shown a sharper fall, although community level violence prevention may have been more effective over a longer period than in England.

"However, the estimated violence-related injury rate for everyone in England and Wales is still too high at 5.59 per 1,000 residents, and we want to see this fall further."

The annual figures show year on year overall decreases in violence-related injuries requiring admission to accident and emergency units between 2001 and 2011, except 2008, when there was a 7% increase.

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