Aim: To investigate the incidence and nature of interpersonal violence hospitalisations for victims aged 11-18 years and to identify subgroups at risk of repeat hospital admissions.
Methods: A population-based, retrospective study of interpersonal violence from 1990 to 2004 was undertaken, using linked hospital morbidity and mental health records for adolescents in Western Australia.
Results: A total of 3607 adolescents incurred 4094 violence hospitalisations during the study period. Of this cohort, 2992 (83%) were between 15 and 18 years of age. Younger victims aged 11-14 years with a previous mental illness admission were at increased risk of a subsequent hospitalisation for violence when compared to those without (hazard ratio (HR) 2.81, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.83-4.31). Adolescents aged 15-18 years were at increased risk to incur a second violence episode if they were female (HR 1.46, 95% CI 1.23-1.75), Indigenous (HR 1.83, 95% CI 1.51-2.22), living in rural (HR 1.60, 95% CI 1.26-2.04) or remote areas (HR 1.96, 95% CI 1.56-2.47) and had a previous mental illness admission (HR 1.56, 95% CI 1.30-1.86).
Conclusions: The identification of victim subgroups at high risk of repeat hospitalisations is important for preventing interpersonal violence. Adolescents with a mental illness should be specifically targeted for attention.
© 2010 The Authors. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health © 2010 Paediatrics and Child Health Division (Royal Australasian College of Physicians).