Violence-related incidents and underlying vulnerability

This research will explore how factors like mental health conditions, drug use and alcohol relate to incidents of violence and related demands for public services.

Research focus

Despite a remarkable reduction in recent years, violent crime is still a key policy priority in Scotland.  Emergency services deal with high volumes of violent incidents and an increasing number of calls involve some aspect of underlying vulnerability.  Policy makers are keen to understand more about how aspects of vulnerability impact on violent crime, especially as this is a primary driver for policies like the ‘public health approach to reducing violence’ and ‘adverse childhood experiences’ informed approaches to policing.

Our proposed research seeks to address questions surrounding violence and underlying vulnerability, and how these factors contribute to the patterns of demand on public services.  We plan to achieve this by linking ambulance call-outs, hospital admissions, and deaths data which identify violence related incidents with data on drug misuse, alcohol and mental health conditions.

Our research will focus on four main areas:

  • To understand how underlying aspects of vulnerability (drug use, alcohol and mental health conditions) are related to violence-related incidents, and how this varies across different socio-demographic groups.
  • To explore the patterns of demand on public services caused by violence-related incidents.
  • To investigate the longer term outcome of violence-related incidents, including further examples of vulnerability and risk of death. 
  • To examine temporal and spatial patterns of demand for ambulance call-outs to violence-related incidents

Data this research aims to link and analyse

  • Scottish Drugs Misuse database
  • Unscheduled Care Datamart: Ambulance call outs, A&E admissions, Hospital admissions (SMR01) and Deaths records
  • Researchers will also liaise with others working on drug related deaths and contact with the emergency services

Research team

Professor Susan McVie, Fernando Pantoja and Ana Morales, University of Edinburgh, Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research

Publications and outputs

This project is at an early stage. When publications or outputs are available, they will be shared here. For more information about this project, please contact us.

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