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Violence-Related Injuries Treated in Hospital Emergency Departments


SUNDAY, AUGUST 24, 1997            202/633-3047


Approximately 17 percent Injured by Intimates

     WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Hospital emergency departments 
treated approximately 1.4 million people for non-fatal 
injuries from confirmed or suspected violence during 1994, 
the Justice Department announced today.  Of these injuries,
1.3 million were confirmed to have been caused by violent 
attacks.  An additional 82,000 people were injured in 
incidents of suspected violence. 

     The Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) 
said 94 percent had been injured during assaults, 5 percent 
had been injured during rapes or sexual assaults and 2 percent
during robberies.  Sixty percent were males. 

     Almost half of the victims were injured by someone they 
knew, and 23 percent were injured by strangers.  In almost 
30 percent of the incidents, the relationship between the 
person inflicting the injury and the patient was not recorded.

     The data released today are from the first study of 
"Violence-Related Injuries Treated in Hospital Emergency 
Departments," which the Consumer Product Safety Commission 
administered for BJS.  Earlier estimates of difficult-to-measure 
violence, such as domestic violence, varied greatly because 
of differences in collection methods and the willingness or 
the ability of victims to participate in the various surveys. 
     The new hospital study showed that approximately 
243,000 people (17 percent) were treated for injuries 
inflicted by someone with whom they had an intimate 
relationship--a spouse, former spouse, boyfriend, 
girlfriend or former boyfriend or girlfriend.  This was 
four times higher than the estimates of the number of such
crime victims treated in hospital emergency rooms as 
measured by BJS's National Crime Victimization Survey, 
one of the nation's principal sources of crime victim data.  
The following chart reflects the relationship between the 
emergency department patients and the alleged offenders by gender:

  Alleged offender             Male patient  Female patient 

  Spouse or former spouse          1.8%         15.9%
  Other relative                   6.6           9.5
  Boyfriend or girlfriend          2.7          20.9
  Other friend                    16.5          15.5
  Other acquaintance               8.7           4.9
  Stranger                        28.9          14.0
  Not reported                    34.8          19.3

  Children younger than 12 years old represented about 
5 percent of all patients treated for violence-related 
injuries.   Twenty-nine percent of these, about 22,000 
children, were treated because of a suspected or an 
actual rape or sexual assault.  In almost all cases of 
suspected sexual abuse, The records did not include the 
outcomes of hospital examinations or other investigations.  

     Among injuries for which the place of occurrence was 
reported, almost half (48 percent) were sustained in 
someone's home.  Twenty-nine percent were in or near a 
store, an office or a factory.

     Bruises and contusions accounted for just over 
one-third of the injuries, and cuts, stab wounds or 
internal injuries comprised 31 percent.  Fractures, sprains, 
dislocations, dental injuries or other muscular/skeletal 
injuries made up 17 percent.  Head injuries accounted for 
4 percent.  Gunshot injuries were 5 percent.

     Medical records cited alcohol and/or drugs in about 
14 percent of the violence-related injuries.  About one-fifth 
of these injuries sustained by men occurred in or near bars 
or restaurants, many during what were characterized on the 
emergency room records as "bar fights."

     The special report, NCJ-156921, was written by BJS 
statistician Michael R. Rand.  Single copies may be obtained 
from the BJS fax-on-demand system by dialing 301/251-5550 
or calling the BJS Clearinghouse number 1-800/732-3277.  This
document and additional information about BJS are available 
on the BJS home page under the "What's New" section.  
The Internet address is:   
     Additional criminal justice materials can be
obtained from the Office of Justice Programs
homepage at:


After hours contact:  Stu Smith at 301/983-9354

Date Published: August 24, 1997