Doctors are key to tackling knife violence, says expert

July 18, 2008

Every hospital emergency department should share information about violent incidents with local crime reduction agencies to tackle the problem of knife crime, says an expert in this week's BMJ.

Professor Jonathan Shepherd, Director of the Violence Research Group at Cardiff University, believes anonymous data should be collected by all emergency departments on the locations and times that violence occurs and the types of weapons used, and then shared with crime reduction partnerships, so that violence "hotspots" can be identified and targeted.

Evidence shows that increasing the perceived likelihood of being caught is more of a deterrent than the severity of sentence, and that police interventions that target "hotspots" are particularly effective, he writes.

Since 2000, violence in England and Wales has become considerably less frequent, but injuries may have become more serious, says Shepherd. Hospital statistics show that rates of hospital admission in England for violence of all types increased (from 82.7/100 000 in 2000-1 to 114.1/100 000 in 2006-7) while admissions due to knife violence also increased (from 8.5/100 000 to 11.3/100 000). However, at the same time, treatment in emergency departments after violence decreased from about 850 to 620 per 100 000.

"It is not safe to assume that the most serious violence, including knife and gun violence, will have been reported", says Shepherd. 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.

Shepherd points out that evaluation of partnership work over the past 10 years shows that the 350 Crime Reduction Partnerships to which the NHS, local authorities and police all contribute has confirmed that an integrated approach and data sharing significantly reduces violence compared with the police and local authorities working alone.

He suggests that alongside measures that decrease the availability of knives, a prevention policy of hospitals sharing information with other agencies is vital to tackling knife violence.

Key to this will be emergency medicine consultants being directly involved in partnership prevention work, including attending meetings with the police and local authority representatives, he concludes.

Source: British Medical Journal

Explore further: Long ignored, adolescent family violence needs our attention

Related Stories

Long ignored, adolescent family violence needs our attention

July 3, 2017
Family violence and youth justice have been subjected to an intense focus in Australia in the past year. Reviews have revealed the failure to provide effective responses to these issues. Government responses to family violence ...

Young British men view knife carrying as a 'legitimate response' to potential threats

May 13, 2011
Knife carrying is seen as a legitimate response both to potential threats and to the lack of protection provided by authorities, according to a study of young white British males published in this week's BMJ.

Virtually painless – how VR is making surgery simpler

January 31, 2017
Surgeons and their patients are finding that virtual reality can relieve the pain and stress of operations – and it's safer and cheaper than sedatives. Jo Marchant travels to a Mexican mountaintop village to visit a clinic ...

For mentally ill, a search for help is often in vain

May 10, 2013
When Chris Marciano was 4 years old, he would have a blistering tantrum whenever music came on the radio. By the second grade, his teacher described him as "not with us." At age 11, he was kicked out of school.

Boxers confront long-term brain damage from repeated blows to the head

November 22, 2016
Boxers know they risk injury in the ring. But there's a more insidious danger they don't often talk about: the long-term brain damage that repeated blows to the head can cause. Lyra McKee meets the families who are breaking ...

Initial hospital costs from gunshot wounds total $6.6 billion over 9 years, study finds

March 21, 2017
Gun violence resulted in initial hospitalization costs of more than $6.6 billion nationwide from 2006 through 2014—an average of $734.6 million per year, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford School of Medicine.

Recommended for you

Pickled in 'cognac', Chopin's heart gives up its secrets

November 26, 2017
The heart of Frederic Chopin, among the world's most cherished musical virtuosos, may finally have given up the cause of his untimely death.

Sugar industry withheld evidence of sucrose's health effects nearly 50 years ago

November 21, 2017
A U.S. sugar industry trade group appears to have pulled the plug on a study that was producing animal evidence linking sucrose to disease nearly 50 years ago, researchers argue in a paper publishing on November 21 in the ...

Female researchers pay more attention to sex and gender in medicine

November 7, 2017
When women participate in a medical research paper, that research is more likely to take into account the differences between the way men and women react to diseases and treatments, according to a new study by Stanford researchers.

Drug therapy from lethal bacteria could reduce kidney transplant rejection

August 3, 2017
An experimental treatment derived from a potentially deadly microorganism may provide lifesaving help for kidney transplant patients, according to an international study led by investigators at Cedars-Sinai.

Exploring the potential of human echolocation

June 25, 2017
People who are visually impaired will often use a cane to feel out their surroundings. With training and practice, people can learn to use the pitch, loudness and timbre of echoes from the cane or other sounds to navigate ...

Team eradicates hepatitis C in 10 patients following lifesaving transplants from infected donors

April 30, 2017
Ten patients at Penn Medicine have been cured of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) following lifesaving kidney transplants from deceased donors who were infected with the disease. The findings point to new strategies for increasing ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

GrayMouser
not rated yet Jul 18, 2008
Oh yeah, let's start another single-issue pressure group.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.