We studied all cases of assault with violence (1,639) in a Danish population of 275,000 over a one-year period. Most victims were young men. The incidence rose during evenings, nights and weekends, and assaults were often seen in or around bars and restaurants. Women accounted for 64 per cent of all victims of assault in the home. Influence of alcohol was identified in 43 per cent of all cases. The fist was the most frequent agent of assault; use of firearms was a very rare act of violence but was associated with death in three out of five cases. There were 10 deaths in all.