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Apr 23, 2014 09:09 AM EDT

Violence Drops in England and Wales by 12 Percent, Study

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Severe violence in England and Wales has reduced by 12 percent, according to a Cardiff University study.

Researchers said that about 234,509 people were admitted to Emergency Departments (EDs), Minor Injury Units (MIUs) and Walk-in Centres in England and Wales in 2013 compared to 32,780 in 2012.

A considerable drop in serious violence was observed across all age groups - youth (down from 18 percent); males and females (19.1 percent and 14.1 percent respectively); young adults (14 percent); young adults males (14.3 percent) and young adults females (13.3 percent).

The study also found that the 18-30 age group continued to be at a heightened risk of violence. Victims were admitted for treatments following violence mostly on week-ends.

The data was collected from a sample of 117 EDs, MIUs and Walk-in Centres in England and Wales.

Professor Jonathan Shepherd, director of the university's violence and society research group, said that there were reports of lower levels of violence since 2001 expect for a 7 percent hike in 2008.

"Violence is falling in many Western countries and we don't know all the reasons why," Shepherd said in a statement. "In England and Wales, the growth of multi-agency violence prevention involving police, the NHS and local authorities may well be a factor; violence has fallen more in regions where this is best organised."

Shepard said that another possible reason for significant reduction in violence can be linked to alcohol. In recent times, a decline in binge drinking was observed and the percentage of non-alcoholics climbed sharply. Plus, alcohol has become less affordable since 2008.

The fall in violent crimes might also be linked to other factors like unemployment, poverty and inequality, and public health and criminal justice prevention initiatives.

"In addition, since 2008 affordability of alcohol has decreased, the real price of alcohol in both the on-trade and the off-trade has increased and UK alcohol consumption levels have decreased from 10.8 litres per capita in 2008 to 10 litres per capita in 2011. These factors may partly explain the falls in serious violence in England and Wales," Shepard said, the Guardian reports.

The decline in violence lowers the cost burden on health services, criminal justice system and Accident & Emergency (A&E) departments.

The Cardiff study complements NHS statistics and recent findings from the annual crime survey of England and Wales on the declining levels of violent crime.

The NHS statistics show that today's young teenagers are healthier than previous generations. Previous studies found that the percentage of illegal drug or alcohol use by the current generation of teenagers decreased from 27 percent to 17 percent in the past decade.

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