A shared data approach more accurately represents the rates and patterns of violence with injury assaults

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Abstract

Background

To investigate whether sharing and linking routinely collected violence data across health and criminal justice systems can provide a more comprehensive understanding of violence, establish patterns of under-reporting and better inform the development, implementation and evaluation of violence prevention initiatives.

Methods

Police violence with injury (VWI) crimed data and emergency department (ED) assault attendee data for South Wales were collected between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2016 to examine the rates and patterns of VWI. Person identifiable data (PID) were cross-referenced to establish if certain victims or events were less likely to be reported to criminal justice services.

Results

A total of 18 316 police crimed VWI victims and 10 260 individual ED attendances with an assault-related injury were considered. The majority of ED assault attendances (59.0%) were unknown to police. The key demographic identified as under-reporting to police were young males aged 18-34 years, while a significant amount of non-reported assaults involved a stranger. The combined monthly age-standardised rates were recalculated and on average were 74.7 (95% CI 72.1 to 77.2) and 66.1 (95% CI 64.0 to 68.2) per 100 000 population for males and females, respectively. Consideration of the additional ED cases resulted in a 35.3% and 18.1% increase on the original police totals for male and female VWI victims.

Conclusions

This study identified that violence is currently undermeasured, demonstrated the importance of continued sharing of routinely collected ED data and highlighted the benefits of using PID from a number of services in a linked way to provide a more comprehensive picture of violence.

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