Violence-related incidents and underlying vulnerability

Despite a remarkable reduction in recent years, violent crime is still a key policy priority in Scotland. Emergency services deal with high volumes of violent incidents and an increasing number of calls involve some aspect of underlying vulnerability. Policy makers are keen to understand more about how aspects of vulnerability impact on violent crime, especially as this is a primary driver for policies like the ‘public health approach to reducing violence’ and ‘adverse childhood experiences’ informed approaches to policing.

Our proposed research seeks to address questions surrounding violence and underlying vulnerability, and how these factors contribute to the patterns of demand on public services in Scotland. We plan to achieve this by linking ambulance call-outs, hospital admissions, and deaths data which identify violence related incidents with data on drug misuse, alcohol and mental health conditions.

Key questions

Our research will focus on four main areas:

  • To understand how underlying aspects of vulnerability (drug use, alcohol and mental health conditions) are related to violence-related incidents, and how this varies across different socio-demographic groups.
  • To explore the patterns of demand on public services caused by violence-related incidents.

  • To investigate the longer term outcome of violence-related incidents, including further examples of vulnerability and risk of death. 

  • To examine temporal and spatial patterns of demand for ambulance call-outs to violence-related incidents

Data this research aims to link and analyse

  • Scottish Drugs Misuse database
  • Unscheduled Care Datamart: Ambulance call outs, A&E admissions, Hospital admissions (SMR01) and Deaths records.

Project lead

Professor Susan McVie, University of Edinburgh, Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research (ADR Scotland).

This project is funded by ADR Scotland via its core grant from the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) as an ADR UK partner.

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