The National Violence Surveillance Network, in collaboration with the University of Cardiff Centre for Research into Violence, follows the evolution of violent incidents based on data provided by emergency services, minor wounds units and other emergency healthcare services. For the research carried out in 2014, a sample of 117 centres was used in different parts of England and Wales. Most of these centres had previously been certified as network collaborators. In any case, it had to be guaranteed that the centres involved completely abided by the norms applicable to the protection of personal data.
Once people with a wound got to the healthcare centres, they were asked what the causes were. If they said they had been an object of violence, a separate report was opened to record the time, the date and location where the incident took place, as well as information about methods used and the aggressors. No personal data was introduced.
In accordance with the study, in 2014, an estimated 211,514 people were attended in healthcare centres in England and Wales due to violent incidents. This figure amounts to an estimated drop of 22,995 people compared with the previous year (nearly 10%) and 101,519 fewer than in 2010. Indeed, violent incidents recorded in healthcare centres have a seen permanent decline (except 2008) since 2001. The most affected group was, as usual, men between 18 and 30. Acts of violence usually took place on Saturday and Sunday, and during the months of May and July.
This data coincides with that of the British Crime Victimisation Survey, which, from October 2013 to September 2014, detected an 11% drop in violent crime. On the other hand, police statistics over this period reflect an increase of 16% in violent crime (40 of the 43 police agencies show a rise). This discrepancy in data has generated a debate about the causes, which would appear to suggest a change in police criteria when recording this type of incidents.
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