Assault victims admitted to hospital 79 times every day in England last year

Assault victims were admitted to hospital 79 times every day on average in England last year, figures show.

Anti-violence charities say it is clear more needs to be done to tackle issues such as knife crime and alcohol-fuelled brawls taking up hospital beds.

Analysis of NHS figures by the PA news agency’s Radar data unit shows 28,905 patients were admitted to hospitals in England after being assaulted during 2019-20 – an average of 79 cases every day.

Assault by bodily force was the most common cause of victims’ injuries, accounting for 16,852 admissions.

Knife crime
Knife crime

This was followed by knife and sharp object attacks (4,674) and assaults with a blunt object (2,115).

Patrick Green, chief executive of anti-knife charity the Ben Kinsella Trust, said it was a relief to see a fall in knife-related injuries after four consecutive annual rises – with this year’s figure a drop of 8% compared to 2018-19.

But with admissions still at their third highest for a decade, Mr Green warned there is still a “long way to go before we can start to think that we are turning the tide on knife crime”.

He added: “It is also important to note that police recorded knife crime figures increased by 7% in the same period. Sadly knife crime shows no sign of going away anytime soon.”

Of the knife or sharp object assault victims hospitalised last year, 769 were aged 18 or under.

“The underlying social issues that create knife crime can take a generation to eradicate,” Mr Green continued.

“No child is born carrying a knife. It is a learned behaviour. We have to do more to educate young people about the dangers of knife crime to help them to make positive choices, and not end up in hospital wards or police cells.”

But Adam Fouracre, chief executive of Stand Against Violence, said the figures show knives are not as much of a problem as fists, despite “relentless emphasis and media storms” on knife crime.

“We need to ensure that our efforts to tackle violence focus on tackling it holistically and not honing in on weapons,” he said.

“Yes, the injuries sustained by penetrating weapons are generally more severe and life threatening, but the prevalence is a third compared to the level of fights and incidences of violence not involving weapons.

“Alcohol fuelled violence will be a significant proportion of these figures and has been a persistent major contributor to the societal violence we see in this country.”

He called for Government departments to work together to reduce the health and economic inequalities which lead to violence, and strengthen preventative education in schools.

The NHS trust with the highest number of assault victims was London’s Barts Health Trust, which saw 1,350 patients.

This was followed by University Hospitals Birmingham Foundation Trust, with 1,155, and Liverpool University Hospitals Foundation Trust, on 1,050.

Some 20 trusts saw an average of at least one assault victim per day.

Local figures count each period a patient spends under one consultant’s care, so someone could be captured more than once after being admitted.