This prospective study was undertaken to assess demographic and social factors, assault characteristics and injuries sustained by assault victims attending a suburban A & E department. A total of 214 men and women who admitted to having been assaulted were entered into the study, information being obtained by patient questionnaire and from A&E records. The assault victims made up 3.3% of the total new patients seen in the study period. The majority of victims were employed, single young men (72%) who had been drinking alcohol prior to assault (66%). They were assailed late at night in the street, in pubs and clubs. Female domestic assault was two times more common in this population than in previous British studies, and women were more extensively injured than men. Injuries were mostly to the face, caused by punches and kicks. Overall, 72% of fractures were facial. Most patients were referred to their G. P. for follow up (41%). The available evidence suggests that personal violence is on the increase, and is not confined to inner-City areas. As victims seeking help will usually attend an A&E department, staff should be alerted to recognize and advise these patients on possible psychological sequelae, as well as treating their physical injuries.
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