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Hospitals urged to report violence


21 July, 2008  

An expert researcher into violent crime has called on all hospital emergency departments to report information about violent incidents to local crime reduction agencies in a bid to tackle the problem of knife crime.

Professor Jonathan Shepherd, Director of the Violence Research Group at Cardiff University, wrote in the British Medical Journal that anonymous data should be collected by all emergency departments on the locations and times that violence occurs and the types of weapons used.

This information should then be shared with crime reduction partnerships, so that violence “hotspots” can be identified and targeted, he said.

“It is not safe to assume that the most serious violence, including knife and gun violence, will have been reported”, Professor Shepherd wrote. “Indeed, many serious violent incidents which result in treatment are not reported to the police due to fear of reprisal or an inability to identify assailants.”

Increasing the perceived likelihood of being caught is more of a deterrent than the severity of sentence, and police interventions that target “hotspots” are particularly effective, he added.

Hospital statistics show that rates of hospital admission in England for violence of all types has increased since 2000, as did admissions due to knife violence.

Copyright PA Business 2008

British Medical Journal