A retrospective analysis of information recorded on victims of assault, who attended the Accident and Emergency department of Chorley and South Ribble Hospital over a 1 y period, was performed in order to describe the epidemiology of violent assault. During the year 735 (1.7%) of the patients attending A&E were identified as being victims of assault (71% were male). Victims were predominantly in their late teens and early 20s (median age 23 y, inter-quartile range 17 to 32 y). They attended at weekends (44% on Saturday or Sunday) and predominantly between the hours of 8 pm and 4 am (54%). Minor injuries were the most frequent (43%) while 21% of victims sustained lacerations and 11% had a fracture. The commonest site of injury was to the neck, face and throat (55%). The crude rate of attendance following violent assault for Chorley District was 4.67 per 1000 population per year. Information routinely collected by A&E departments can be used to describe the epidemiology of violence in the community. Further work is required to ascertain the optimal method of collection and dissemination of this information.