14 Dec 2017
The extent of assault-related deaths and injuries as well as suicides and injuries caused by self-harm in Victoria has been revealed in a new report by the Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC).
The latest edition of Hazard, a report collated by MUARC’s Victorian Injury Surveillance Unit (VISU), reveals there were 348 assault-related deaths in Victoria over an eight-year period from 2006/07 to 2013/14. This figure amounts to an average of 44 fatalities per year.
The report provides data for Victorians aged 15 years and older, using Emergency Department (ED) presentation and hospital admissions data held by VISU along with deaths recorded in the National Coronial Information System.
The data on assault-related deaths shows an overrepresentation of males, who accounted for almost three out of four deaths (73%) during the eight-year period.
The report also underlines the need for action on family violence. The majority (53%) of assault-related deaths and 43% of hospital admissions for assault related injuries among adult females occurred as a result of the actions of a spouse or domestic partner.
There were 4,371 suicides among adults aged 15 years and older in the eight-year study period, most commonly among people aged between 35-44 years (21%) and 45-54 years (20%). Males were overrepresented, accounting for more than three out of four (77%) suicides.
Self-harm injuries led to approximately 6,900 Emergency Department presentations and 4,000 hospital admissions per year in Victoria.
The majority (67%) of non-fatal self-harm admissions were females and almost one-third (32%) were aged 15-24 years.
“Hospital admissions data show more young women are being admitted to hospital for intentional self-harm injury than for any other cause of injury. Self-harm accounts for almost one-quarter of all injury admissions among women aged 15-24 years whereas causes such as falls and car crashes account for 14% and 11% of injury cases respectively,” said VISU Research Fellow Angela Clapperton.
The report recommends development of programmes aimed to prevent and reduce the impact of assault and self-harm related injuries and deaths.
For instance, as fatalities and injuries caused by assault were shown to occur most often on Saturday nights and the early hours of Sunday, the report recommends greater preventive efforts that consider factors such as the availability of alcohol and access to safe transport.