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24-hour drinking has cut violence

Published:  23 July, 2008

Round-the-clock drinking in pubs has led to a drop in the number of women getting injured in fights, a new report has revealed.

A study by Cardiff University's Violence Research Group found an 8% drop in the number of female victims attending accident and emergency departments in England and Wales. But the figure for the number of men going to hospital with serious violence-related injuries has remained unchanged.

The study, released today, looked at 33 hospitals across the UK during 2006 and found there were 6000 fewer people needing hospital treatment for violence injuries than in 2005. An estimated 364,000 people across England and Wales sought treatment for violent-related injuries in 2006.

The study is the first complete set of data since the licensing laws changed in November 2005 - the law had triggered fears that longer opening hours would see a rise in street violence.

The results showed there were more violent incidents at weekends, with the worst time of year being between April and October, peaking in July.

The figures coincide with official Home Office statistics into crime, to be published later today. The Cardiff study has shown a consistent fall in the number of assault victims since 2000, while violent incidents recorded by the police have risen.

Violence Research Group director, Professor Jonathan Shepherd, said: 'It seems likely that street CCTV and better-targeted patrols mean that police are getting to fights more often and earlier.

'This would explain why incident numbers are up and injuries down - police are intervening before anyone is seriously hurt.

'It is encouraging to see that the trend is downwards and that the feared effect of the licensing law change has not materialised.'