Feet, Not Fists, Cause More Severe Injuries, Report Says

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Wounds due to guns were not considered for the study.

"We were interested in taking out of the equation firearm injury, because that tended to dominate the research agenda," Shepherd said.

"We wanted to come at [the study] from the perspective of ordinary, everyday violence in a U.K. and European context."

The researcher notes that overall, severe injuries from violence seem to be on the decline in the United Kingdom, although exact measurement remains a problem.

"We have evidence that shows police records are not a reliable measure of violence, and that reliable measures of violence are crime surveys and injury statistics."

Similarly, the level of violence in the United States has been on a downward trend since the 1980s, said Fred Rivara, founding director of the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center in Seattle, Washington.

But rates of lower-level violence in the U.S. have not been thoroughly studied, he said.

"There have been a number of studies looking at the risk of guns versus [blunt or sharp objects] in the United States," Rivara said.

"But we haven't seen anybody looking at feet or fists versus weapons."

On Camera

Another Cardiff University initiative—the National Violence Surveillance Project—shows that installation of closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras could be one way to decrease the risk of violent attacks.

CCTV seems to have led to a decrease in the number of victims going to the emergency room, partly because police can arrive on the scene prior to a violent engagement, the initiative suggests.

To deter even more injuries, Cardiff University's Shepherd advocates greater awareness of the dangers of kicking.

Preventing alcohol and drug abuse is also a factor in reducing injury, he says.

"The risk of conviction for an assault is also a deterrent [for violence]," he said. "Group violence also needs to be recognized as particularly likely to produce severe injury."

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