Background and aims 66 000 children and adolescents are treated at emergency departments (EDs) in England and Wales each year for assault injury. The aim of this study was to compare adolescent assault injury rates in cities and towns and determine how assault injury varies with deprivation and gender.
Methods The study was set in three cities in Wales, UK, and their surrounding towns. Subjects were 11–17 year olds treated for assault injury at one of seven EDs from 1 October 2005 to 30 September 2006. Area of residence (electoral divisions, EDivs) was identified from patient postcode. EDivs were aggregated into deprivation fifths for males and females and cities and towns. Assault injury rates, rate ratios and 95% CIs were calculated.
Results 1472 children and adolescents of 11–17 years old were treated for assault injury. Male city assault injury rates were 14.2/1000 11–17 year olds; and 13.1 in towns. Female city assault injury rates were 6.0; and 5.6 in towns. In the most deprived city areas males had assault injury rates 2.6 times (95% CI 1.85 to 3.59) that of the most affluent, compared with 2.0 times in towns (95% CI 1.39 to 2.86). For females, the most deprived city areas had assault injury rates 5.3 times that of the most affluent (95% CI 2.93 to 9.41), compared with 2.8 times in towns (95% CI 1.47 to 5.28).
Conclusions Injury in youth violence increased with increasing deprivation in cities and their feeder towns. This was true for boys and girls, though rates for boys were consistently higher. This link between assault injury and deprivation was stronger for girls in cities than in feeder towns. Strategies to prevent youth violence need to include improved safeguarding arrangements for girls living in the most deprived city areas.
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Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.