Less women involved in drink fighting

Serious violence-related injuries fell by 2% in England and Wales, despite the introduction of new licensing laws, a survey has found.

The survey, by Cardiff University's Violence Research Group, studied data from 33 Accident and Emergency departments across England and Wales.

Researchers said that the 2% falls was "less dramatic" than that of previous years and that the figure for violence against men had remained unchanged.

However, there was an 8% drop in the number of female victims.

Researchers also found that approximately 6,000 fewer people needed hospital treatment for violence injuries than in 2005.

The results showed that there were more violent incidents at weekends with the worst time of year being between April and October, peaking in July.

The change in the law allowing round-the-clock licensing in November 2005 had triggered fears that the longer opening hours would see a rise in street violence.

The annual study was set up to complement official Home Office statistics. The Cardiff team have recorded a consistent fall in the number of assault victims since 2000, while violent incidents logged by the police have risen.

Violence Research Group director Professor Jonathan Shepherd said: "It seems likely that street CCTV and better targeted patrols mean that police are getting to fights more often and earlier. This would explain why incident numbers are up and injuries are down - police are intervening before anyone is seriously hurt. This illustrates the increasing injury prevention benefits of CCTV and targeted police activity in city centres.

"We estimate that some 364,000 people needed hospital treatment for assaults last year. That is still too many, but it is encouraging to see that the trend is downwards and that the feared effect of the licensing law change has not materialised."


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