Objective The aim of this study was to explore the potential of ambulance call-out data in understanding violence to inform about prevention activity.
Method This cross-sectional (2013–2015) study examined the nature, extent and characteristics of violence-related ambulance call-outs (n=15 687) across North West England and relationships with temporal, celebratory and sporting events.
Results The majority of call-outs were for men, with a mean age of 33 years. Most call-outs were to deprived (64.4%) and urban (65.4%) areas and occurred at night (18:00–5:59; 75.2%). Three-quarters (77.3%) were recorded as assault/sexual assault and 22.7% stab/gunshot/penetrating trauma. Significant differences in call-out characteristics were identified between the two violence types. Generalised linear modelling found that call-outs significantly increased on weekends, New Year’s Eve and weekday bank holiday eves (except for stab/gunshot/penetrating trauma). No significant associations between all violence call-outs, the two violence categories and sporting or celebration events were identified. Two-thirds (66.1%) of the call-outs were transferred to another health service for further assessment and/or treatment. The odds of being transferred were significantly higher among men (adjusted OR (AOR) 1.5, 95%CI 1.4 to 1.6), those aged 13–24 years (AOR 1.2, 95%CI 1.0 to 1.4), call-outs for stab/gunshot/penetrating trauma (AOR 1.4, 95%CI 1.3 to 1.5) and call-outs on Fridays/Saturdays (AOR 1.1, 95%CI 1.0 to 1.2) and lower for call-outs on New Year’s Eve (AOR 0.6, 95%CI 0.4 to 0.9).
Conclusion Ambulance call-out data can provide a wealth of information to understand violence and subsequently inform about violence prevention and response activity. Ambulance services and staff could play a key role in preventing violence through sharing data and identifying and supporting victims.
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Contributors ZQ planned and conducted the study, analysed the data and drafted the manuscript. CMcG assisted with data preparation, analyses and the literature review. KH edited the manuscript. SR assisted with data preparation. MAB advised on statistical analyses. All authors reviewed, edited and approved the final manuscript.
Funding TIIG ISS (Trauma and Injury Intelligence Group Injury Surveillance System) is funded through contributions from public health and community safety partners across the North West. The additional analyses required for this study were funded by the Public Health Institute, Liverpool John Moores University.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.