Why are assault hospitalisation rates important?
Both fatal and non-fatal assaults involving young people contribute significantly to the burden of premature death, injury and disability. Violence among young people affects the victims and their families, friends and communities, contributing to increased health and welfare costs, reduced productivity, decreased value of property and disrupted essential services (Krug et al. 2002). Harmful and hazardous alcohol use are risk factors both for being victimised and perpetrating youth violence, and are therefore priority areas for intervention (WHO 2006; Pilgrim et al. 2014).
Do rates vary across population groups?
In 2013–14, the rate of hospitalisations due to assaults among all young people aged 12–24 in Australia was 143 per 100,000. Young people aged 18–24 had a rate of assault hospitalisation that was three times as high as the rate for 12–17 year olds (202 per 100,000 compared to 66 per 100,000). Males had a higher rate of hospitalisation than females, with 205 per 100,000 and 78 per 100,000, respectively. Indigenous young people were much more likely to be hospitalised due to assault with a rate 7 times as high as the rate for Other Australians (733 per 100,000 compared to 112 per 100,000).
Has there been a change over time?
Prior to 2007–08 there was a steady increase in the rate of assault hospitalisations for all young people aged 12–24, peaking at 223 per 100,000 in 2007–08. Since then there has been a decline in the rate of assault hospitalisations to 143 per 100,000 in 2013–14. Similar trends were evident for 12–17 year olds and 18–24 year olds.
Trends in assault hospitalisations among young males is similar to that of all young people, rising between 2004–05 to 2007–08, and declining from 358 per 100,000 in 2007–08 to 205 per 100,000 in 2013–14. There are no strong trends observed among young females with the rate of assault hospitalisations remaining steady at 80 per 100,000 from 2003 to 2013.
For young Indigenous Australians, the rate of assault hospitalisation has decreased in recent years, from 886 per 100,000 in 2009–10 to 733 per 100,000 in 2013–14. Over this period there has also been a decline in in the rate among Other Australians to 112.2 per 100,000 in 2013–14.