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Matching study using health and police datasets for characterising interpersonal violence in the community of Khayelitsha, South Africa 2013-2015.

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Oni, Tolu 
Matzopoulos, Richard 


OBJECTIVES: The Cardiff Model of data sharing for violence prevention is premised on the idea that the majority of injury cases presenting at health facilities as a result of interpersonal violence will not be reported to the police. The aim of this study was to determine the concordance between violent crimes reported to the police with violence-related injuries presenting at health facilities in Cape Town, South Africa. METHODS: We conducted a retrospective analysis of secondary cross-sectional health and police data, from three health facilities and three police stations in the community of Khayelitsha, Cape Town. 781 cases of injuries arising from interpersonal violence seen at health facilities were compared with 739 violence-related crimes reported at police stations over five separate week-long sampling periods from 2013 to 2015. Personal identifiers, name and surname, were used to match cases. RESULTS: Of the 708 cases presenting at health facilities, 104 (14.7%) were matched with police records. The addition of non-reported cases of violence-related injuries from the health dataset to the police-reported crime statistics resulted in an 81.7% increase in potential total violent crimes over the reporting period. Compared with incidents reported to the police, those not reported were more likely to involve male patients (difference: +47.0%; p<0.001) and sharp object injuries (difference: +24.7%; p<0.001). Push/kick/punch injuries were more frequent among reporting than non-reporting patients (difference: +17.5%; p<0.001). CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that the majority of injuries arising from interpersonal violence presenting at health facilities in Khayelitsha are not reported to the police. A data-sharing model between health services and the police should be implemented to inform violence surveillance and reduction.


Peer reviewed: True


Public health, 1506, 1724, public health, accident & emergency medicine, epidemiology

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BMJ Open

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National Institute for Health Research (16/137/34)
Department of Health (via National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)) (16/137/34)