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Epidemiology of rail suicide in Victoria, Australia
  1. V Routely*
  1. Correspondence Accident Research Centre, Monash University, MU, Australia

Abstract

Rail suicides account for approximately 5.8% of suicides in Victoria and the rate per head of population (0.63 per 100 000) is higher than Australia overall (0.39). Victoria's rail network is largely unfenced and above ground.

Aim To describe post year 2000 patterns of rail suicide in Victoria.

Method (1) Transport, medical and psychological library databases were searched for “rail and/or train suicide” and located articles and reports reviewed. (2) Rail industry, Victorian Department of Transport, National Coroners Information System (NCIS), hospital admission and Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) databases were interrogated for completed and attempted rail suicides. Variables extracted and analysed included: age, sex, location, time of incident and any previous suicide attempts, mental illness or mental health facility association. Walking distance between residence and suicide location was estimated using Google map and presence of fencing determined using Google map and Streetview. Hotspot areas were determined using a Suicide Priority Scoring System (SPS).

Results Descriptive statistics will be presented on completed and attempted rail suicides by age, sex, location, difference between residence and suicide location, fencing, temporal and mental health factors. Reported results will also include hot spot areas identified and recommendations for prevention.

Conclusion The findings of this study support previous research that young males with mental illness, including schizophrenia, are common among rail suicides. Short, medium and long-term recommendations, including additional fencing, were made. There is a need for countermeasures to prevent suicides that occur on the open line and are not concentrated at specific locations.

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