Background We set out to study some aspects of the nature of severe violence in the Danish region of Eastern Jutland (Oestjylland) over a twelve-year period (2003–2014).
Methods Retrospective register study. Victims of non-fatal, non-sexualised, interpersonal violence in Eastern Jutland between 2003 and 2014 were included, if they were 15 years or older. For cases in 2003 through 2014 patterns in gender, age and trauma force were evaluated. For cases in 2003, 2004, 2013 and 2014 severity was studied using the variables threat-to-life, Shepherd’s severity score as well as the necessity of hospitalisation, medical intervention and surgery whilst injury patterns were studied using the variables lesion type and topographic location.
Results There were 389 cases in 2003 through 2014, of which 122 (31%) were in 2003–2004 and 2013–2014. Males were more likely than females to sustain injuries from sharp force (p = 0.013), whilst the opposite was the case for strangulation (p < 0.001). Lesions in women were almost exclusively caused by blunt trauma or strangulation, and a difference between females and males was found in the distribution of lesions by trauma force (p < 0.001). No difference in topographic distribution of lesions was found between females and males (p = 0.154). The ratio between the number of forensic clinical examinations and police cases with a suspect showed a downward trend (p = 0.060). Neither differences in severity between cases with female and male victims (p = 0.129) nor temporal changes in severity (p = 0.464) were found. Finally, the number of cases involving other tools decreased (p = 0.045) whilst the number of cases involving knives showed an upward trend (p = 0.061).
Conclusions Victims in this study were older, the severity of their injuries greater, and the topographic lesion distribution different than what is seen in other studies. One explanation may be that most studies include victims of violence altogether whilst this study focused on victims of severe violence. More and larger-scale research is warranted to allow for comprehensive data collection, further study the nature of violence, and elucidate injury patterns, to continuously develop and strengthen the evidence base of (clinical) forensic medicine.
- interpersonal violence
- severe violence
- injury patterns
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