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Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Cardiff study explores links between deprivation and risk of violence-related injury

Written by Rod Minchin

Teenage girls from deprived areas are at a greater risk of suffering from violence than those from more affluent communities, research suggests.

This is because they feel distrusted by their "strict" parents and then put themselves in situations where they could fall victim to violence.

Girls from poorer backgrounds are six times more likely than girls from wealthier areas to fall victim to violence, according to academics at Cardiff University.

The researchers interviewed groups of girls aged 14 to 16 attending secondary schools in South Wales.

The interviews also revealed that girls from affluent areas typically obtained alcohol from their parents who could control the type, strength and quantity of alcohol consumed.

But girls from deprived areas obtained alcohol from a variety of sources and often purchased it themselves - enabling access to a wider range of drinks that would likely be consumed in an unsupervised environment.

Lead author Professor Jonathan Shepherd, from Cardiff University, said: "We discovered that deprivation makes adolescent girls six times more likely to suffer violence-related injury than girls in affluent areas.

"What we wanted to understand with our new study were some of the reasons for this increased risk.

"Our research suggests that girls attending schools in more deprived areas tend to perceive their parents as untrusting and strict, leading the adolescent girls to be less than honest with their parents regarding their activities and consequently more likely to find themselves in a situation where they could be a victim of violence.

"We also found that a lack of access to organised leisure activities and facilities plays a key role, resulting in girls in deprived areas spending less of their time under the supervision of others and more likely to consume alcohol without parental knowledge.

"Alcohol intoxication has been identified as a significant risk factor for violence victimisation and violence-related injury, so it's no surprise that adolescent girls whose alcohol use is not regulated by parents are more at risk."

Globally, interpersonal violence was the fifth most common cause of death and disability among 15 to 29-year-olds in 2012.

In England and Wales, an estimated 22,957 children and adolescents attended emergency departments last year seeking medical treatment following violence-related injury.

The study, Links between deprivation and risk of violence-related injury: a qualitative study to identify potential causal mechanisms, is published in Journal of Public Health

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