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A&E treating more violence cases

22 April 09 05:51 GMT

More people are seeking hospital treatment for injuries related to violence, a study has shown.

Researchers from Cardiff University looked at 49 accident and emergency (A&E) departments in England and Wales.

They found a 7% rise in 2008 in the number of assaults resulting in hospital treatment.

The Home Office said violent crime had fallen by almost half since 1995 but it was determined to tackle violence "in all its forms".

The study estimated there were 21,000 more people attending A&E following violence than in 2007 - the first annual increase since 2001.

"Alcohol-related violence"

Professor Jonathan Shepherd, director of the violence and society research group, said: "The big problem is alcohol-related violence in towns and city centres.

"It's not so much that people drink and become violent but that they drink and become more vulnerable to assault."

He added: "One way to reduce the risk of being injured is monitoring how much you drink."

More generally, said Prof Shepherd, violence within gender is more frequent than violence between gender.

A Home Office spokesman said: "Violent crime has fallen by almost one half since 1995 and the chance of being a victim is at its lowest level since 1981.

"We are determined to tackle violence in all its forms. That is why we have put record numbers of police on the streets and are working closely to further reduce violent crime."

He said an action programme to tackle knife crime was working with 16 police forces to help make communities and young people feel safer.

"Alcohol-related violent crime has fallen by a third in the last 12 years. We are committed to tackling those irresponsible practices and promotions which encourage binge drinking and lead to crime and disorder."

"We have launched the £10m Know Your Limits campaign to challenge drunkenness and have recently spent £4.5m to clamp down on those who break the law."

Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said the research showed "the alarming prevalence" of alcohol-related violence.

"It is particularly startling that there have been significant increases in attacks on women and middle aged people.

Mr Huhne said Prof Shepherd and his team at Cardiff University had "done sterling work" on using hospital data to map violent attacks.

"Police in Cardiff used his model to proactively police hotspots and have reduced violent crime by 40%. The disappointing thing is how few hospitals are sharing this data with their local police forces."

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