Injury statistics hammer home truths

The danger of do-it-yourself (DIY) home renovations is revealed in a new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Analysis by the Flinders University Research Centre for Injury Studies has outlined the extent of DIY, dog bite and domestic violence and firearm-related death and injuries reported in Australia annually.

The new AIHW fact sheets also cover key findings about unintentional train and tram-related injuries.

Key findings include:

  • About 4 in 5 DIY injuries that occurred as a result of falls (for example, from ladders) or while using tools and machinery, occurred in males – most frequently aged 55–74. This involves hospital treatment of up to 3,300 people a year.
  • Nearly 4,000 people were hospitalised due to a dog-related injury, with the highest number of dog bite hospitalisations occurring among children aged under 9.
  • While up to 20,000 people were hospitalised as a result of assault each year, more than two-thirds of assault victims were males. Of the nearly 6,500 women and girls hospitalised due to assault in 2013-14, the violence was perpetrated by a partner or spouse in 59% of cases. Parents or family members were responsible for the rest.
  • Men made up 90% of firearm-related deaths and injury cases. Almost 90% of firearm-related deaths were due to suicide.
  • There were about 800 cases of serious unintentional injury involving a train or tram over the 5-year period 2009-10 to 2013-14, an average of about 160 per year.

Flinders Professor James Harrison, says the AIHW research into assaults on females found that, overall, women and girls were hospitalised for assault at “a rate that is less than half the equivalent rate for men – at 56 cases per 100,000 females compared to 121 cases per 100,000 males.

However, the patterns of injury seen for females are different to that seen for males, said AIHW spokesman Professor Harrison.

“The rate of hospitalised assault for women and girls varied by age. It was highest in the 20–34 years age group, at a little over 100 cases per 100,000 women,” he said.

In the 15 years and older age group, 8% of victims were pregnant at the time of the assault.

The AIHW has recently expanded its work on domestic, sexual and family violence, with the first comprehensive statistical picture of the topic due for release later in 2017.

In the DIY injuries study, the most common cause of injuries was falling off a ladder (1,262) followed by power tools (899), falls from buildings (417), lawnmowers (271) and non-powered hand tools (230).

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