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DEATH AND SERIOUS INJURY CAUSED BY STABBING IN ENGLAND AND WALES 2000–2010
  1. M Davies,
  2. F Lecky
  1. Trauma audit and research network, University of Manchester, Salford, United Kingdom

Abstract

Objectives & Background Following a spate of high profile murders there is concern that injuries and deaths caused by knives is increasing in England and Wales, especially within the teenage population. Excluding police and Home Office statistics, there are few UK studies examining Emergency Department data.

Methods A retrospective analysis was performed of stab injuries from the Trauma Audit and Research Network (TARN) database (2000-2010), the largest national registry of serious injuries. Data were analysed to determine temporal trends in the prevalence of stab injuries and demographic characteristics of those injured. The UK Office of National Statistics provided data on deaths by stabbing.

Results Of 102,562 cases in the TARN database, 3052 (3%) were due to stabbing. There were 2755 men and 297 women with a median age of 28 and 33 years respectively. The median NISS was 18 with a mortality rate of 6.5% in men and 7.7% in women. The highest rate of stabbings as a proportion of all injuries was submitted from London (7.8%), with the South East submitting the least (1.5%). 92% resided in urban areas, 90% were due to assault and 36% presented to the ED between 00.00-08.00. Following a peak in the middle of the decade, serious stab injuries are falling. ONS data recording death from stabbing also follows this pattern, mainly due to a fall in homicides.

Conclusion Both from TARN and ONS data, the rate of death and serious injury from stab wounds rose in the middle of the last decade but since 2006 is falling. Stabbings account for a low proportion of overall injury deaths and hospitalised trauma patients. The vast majority are due to assault and affect young men in urban areas, particularly London, the North East and the North West. Accidental death from stabbing is rare although suicide using sharp implements, particularly amongst older men, is perhaps more common than previously thought.

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