A population study on Indigenous hospitalisations for interpersonal violence
Lynn B. Meuleners A B , Andy H. Lee A , Delia Hendrie A and Michelle Fraser A
A School of Public Health, Curtin University of Technology, GPO Box U 1987, Perth, WA 6845, Australia.
B Corresponding author. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Australian Health Review 34(1) 123-126 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/AH09666
Submitted: 17 July 2008 Accepted: 9 March 2009 Published: 25 March 2010
Indigenous people experience a disproportionately high burden of interpersonal violence. This paper compares the demographic characteristics and injury circumstances of male and female Indigenous Australians hospitalised due to interpersonal violence in Western Australia over a 15-year period. A population-based, retrospective study of all hospitalisations due to interpersonal violence for Indigenous people in WA was undertaken using the linked 1990–2004 data from the WA Mortality Database and the Hospital Morbidity Data System. The majority of Indigenous hospitalisations were for females (56.3%). Female victims were more likely to be admitted due to maltreatment and rape (11.9%). Age profiles, residential location and length of hospital stay were similar between both sexes. The results indicate higher rates of hospitalisation and readmissions for interpersonal violence in WA among Indigenous females than males. There may potentially be different risk factors for each sex and further investigation will have public health benefits.
What is known about the topic? Indigenous people experience a disproportionately high burden of interpersonal violence compared with non-Indigenous people. In contrast to the general population, Indigenous females are hospitalised for interpersonal violence at a higher rate than their male counterparts.
What does this paper add? This study used population-based data to compare the different characteristics between Indigenous male and female hospitalisations due to interpersonal violence in Western Australia. Females were hospitalised at nearly 1.3 times the rate of males and comprised the majority (65%) of hospitalisations for those admitted more than once.
What are the implications for practitioners? The results provide policy makers and planners with a basis for making informed decisions on where to specifically target resources so as to reverse the increasing burden of interpersonal violence on Indigenous communities. In addition, more rigorous prospective investigation is required to determine the contributing factors of interpersonal violence hospitalisations for Indigenous people.
Australian Bureau of Statistics. National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social survey, 2002. Canberra: Australian Commonwealth Government, 2004. (ABS Cat. No. 4714.0.)
. The cost of injury in Western Australia during 2003: an overview of total and health system costs, highlight report. Perth: Western Australian Government, 2005.
Australian Bureau of Statistics. The health and welfare of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, 2005. Canberra: Australian Commonwealth Government, 2005. (ABS Cat. No. 4704.0.)
Injury profiles of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in New South Wales.
Med J Aust
. Hospital admissions due to intimate partner violence in Western Australia 1994–2003. Perth: Western Australian Government, 2005.
Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy and Development. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Task Force on Violence Report. Brisbane: Queensland Government, 1999.
. Bringing them home: report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from their Families. Sydney: Australian Government Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 1997.
. Women’s experiences of male violence: findings from the Australian component of the International Violence Against Women Survey (IVAWS). Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, 2004.
. Family violence among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Canberra: Australian Insitute of Health and Welfare, 2006. (AIHW Cat. No. IHW 17.)
Violence in Indigenous communities. Canberra: Commonwealth Attorney General’s Department, 2001.
Assault-related admissions to hospital in Central Australia.
Med J Aust
National Coding Centre. The Official NCC Australian Version of ICD-9-CM Tabular List (Annotated) and Index of Procedures. Sydney: 1st edn, National Coding Centre, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney, 1995.
National Coding Centre. The Official NCC Australian Version of ICD-10-AM Tabular List (Annotated) and Index of Procedures ICD-10-AM MBS-Extended. Sydney: 5th edn, National Coding Centre, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney, 2006.
. Hospital statistics: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 1990–2000 [occasional paper]. Canberra: ABS, 2002. (ABS Cat. No. 4711.0.)
Hospitalisation for head injury due to assault among Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, July 1999–June 2005.
Med J Aust
Hospitalisations due to interpersonal violence: a population-based study in Western Australia.
Med J Aust
Australian Bureau of Statistics. Population distribution, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. Canberra: ABS, 2006. (ABS Cat. No. 4705.0.)
. Non-reporting and hidden recording of sexual assault: an international review. Report prepared by the Australian Institute of Criminology for the Commonwealth Office of the Status of Women. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia, 2003.