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Indian Journal of Community Medicine

Epidemiological study of violence: A study from North East India

Author(s): Baruah Anuja, Baruha Alak

Vol. 32, No. 2 (2007-04 - 2007-06)

SHORT ARTICLE

Year : 2007 | Volume : 32 | Issue : 2 | Page : 137-138

Epidemiological study of violence: A study from North East India

Baruah Anuja, Baruha Alak
Department of Community Medicine, Assam Medical College, Dibrugarh, Assam, India
Date of Submission 14-Dec-2004

Correspondence Address:
Baruah Anuja
C/o Dr. Sanjay Kumar Chetia, Pragoti Nagar, Near Satsang Kendra, Bongalpukhuri, NA-ALI, Jorhat - 785 001, Assam
India

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
How to cite this article:
Baruah A, Baruha A. Epidemiological study of violence: A study from North East India. Indian J Community Med 2007;32:137-8
How to cite this URL:
Baruah A, Baruha A. Epidemiological study of violence: A study from North East India. Indian J Community Med [serial online] 2007 [cited 2007 Nov 30];32:137-8. Available from: http://www.ijcm.org.in/text.asp?2007/32/2/137/35655

Violence is presented as the outcome of a complex interaction between individual, relationship, community, socio-cultural, political and environmental factors. Images and accounts of violence pervade the media; it is in our streets, in our homes, schools, workplaces and institutions. To study the impact of violence it is desirable to conduct a community based study, however, a hospital based study would provide an approximate picture of the burden and distribution of violence.

The present study was conducted at Assam Medical Colleges, Dibrugrah, Assam. Violent deaths reported at the Forensic Department, Assam Medical colleges Hospital were also included. The period of study was between 1 st May, 2003 to 30 th April 2004. Any person reporting with an intentional injury either self inflicted or inflicted by others was included as a case of violence. The study being hospital based could observe only the victims reporting as a result of actual physical injury. Violence, threatened or causing psychological harm or mal development could not be captured in this study. In case of death or unconsciousness the attendant was interviewed. The attendant could be a relative, a neighbor or a policeman who could describe the circumstances of the violent act. At other times, the forensic report proved useful. A pre-tested Performa specially designed for these purpose was used for interviewing the violence victims, either in the casually or in the wards. The information collected included personal identification data, time and type of violence, etc. The medico legal records and case sheets were referred for collecting additional information.

A total of 2090 victims of violence were reported during the study period at the two study site accounting for 1.0% cases. Of the post mortems conducted in the Forensic Department, 61.6% were due to violence.

The burden of violence on the health care system found in the present study (1.0%) is much lower than that found in the England study. In the present study as all patients attending both emergency and routine health care services have been taken, the proportion has been diluted. However, this proportion may also be affected by the health seeking behaviour of the violence victims and the relative burden of other disease requiring health care.

Interpersonal violence was maximum in the age group of 15-29 years and was found in very high proportion amongst in this age group.

Wright and Kariya in a study of assault patients in a Scottish accident and emergency department found that the mean age of violence victimization is 28 years. [1]

Sivarajasingam and Shepherd in a study for trends in community violence in England and Wales found that 45% patients came from the age group of 18-30 years. [2]

Concha-Eastman et al., in a study of homicides in Cali, Colombia found that the victims mostly belonged to the 20-34 years age group. [3]

The findings of the present study resembled the previous studies with respect to the age violence. The period of adolescence and young adulthood is a time when violence as well as other types of behaviors, are often given heightened expression.

On the contrary, SIV and suicides were most common in females of this age group itself violence in the age group of 0-4 years was very uncommon only 4 male children being attempted to be helped by one of them own parent.

On the whole, males experience maximum interpersonal violence. Wright and Kariya [1] in a study of assault patients found that 80% of the victims were males. The Editorial of the British Medical Journal also says that men are more at risk of violence. [4] In another study by Sivarajasingam and Shepherd, [1] 74% of the victims of assault were found to be men. Almost everywhere, youth homicide rates are substantially lower among females than among males, suggestion that being a male is a strong demographic risk factor.

Suicides and self inflicted violence is on the whole equally distributed amongst both sexes. At the extremes of age the experience of violence is less maintaining a normal distribution of the phenomenon.

Suicides and self harm commonly occurred at home (90%).Males committed 86.3% self inflicted violence in their homes while 92.9% females committed the same at home. It was found to be rare at work or school.

Interpersonal violence was found occurred more commonly on street (54.3%). In males street accounted for 60.4% of all assaults. In 28.0% cases interpersonal violence occurred at the victim's place of residence. Females were found to be more frequently assaulted at their own homes (59.4%) [Table - 1].

Wright and Kariya [1] in their study had found the street to commonest place (44%) of assaults and also the women were more likely to be assaulted in their homes.

Persons in the age group of 15-29 years were found to be more predisposed to violence. There is an urgent need to address the social and emotional needs of the adolescents and young adults. Peer group support and development of some form of recreation may prove beneficial for the young adults and especially the male youths. The age below 15-29 years is the period when young people face the realities of live and strive to make their own existence. Solving the problems of poverty, unemployment and other social evils may rescue many such young people. Means of coping with stress and reduction in the exhausting noise and other pollution of urban areas may reduce some occurrence of interpersonal violence. Commitment of violence prevention and peace building requires and honest and frank assessment of all forms of violence and its uses and impact.

References

1. Wright J, Kariya A. Assault patients attending a Scottish accident and emergency department. J Royal Soc Med 1997;90:322-6.
2. Sivarajasingam V, Shepherd JP. Trends in community violence in England and Wales 1995-98: An accident and emergency department perspective. Emerg Med J 2001;18:105-9. [PUBMED] [FULLTEXT]
3. Concha-Eastman A, Espitia VE, Espinosa R, Guerrero R. Epidemiology of homicides in Cali, Colombia, 1993-98. Six years of a population based model. Rev Panam Salud Publica 2002;12:230-9.
4. Shepherd JP. Tackling violence. BMJ 1998;316:879. [PUBMED] [FULLTEXT]

Tables

Table 1: Age sex distribution of violence cases

Table 1: Age sex distribution of violence cases

Table 2: Distribution of violent events according to location

Table 2: Distribution of violent events according to location

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