Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Violence-related injury of children in Israel: age-dependent pattern

Michael Rozenfeld & Kobi Peleg

Objective

To characterize the population of children hospitalized as a result of violence.

Methods

This retrospective study used data from the Israeli National Trauma Registry on patients aged 0–17 years hospitalized for trauma during 1998–2006. Of 65 430 patients, 2060 (3.1%) had violence-related injuries. Descriptive statistics and bivariate analysis were used to characterize injury patterns and multivariate analysis was used to identify factors associated with severe injury.

Findings

Half the victims of violence < 18 years of age were 15–17 years old. Most were boys. Violence-related trauma occurred more often than other trauma in the street, at school or in a public place or leisure facility, but less often at home. Unarmed brawling and stabbing were the most common types of violence. Brawling affected Jewish children more, while non-Jewish children were more often injured by firearms. The boundaries of age groups with different injury rates corresponded to the “institutional” childhood stages of the Israeli educational system: the violence-related injury rate dropped after the first year of life, stayed low during kindergarten, rose slightly during elementary school and rose steeply during secondary and high school. The percentage of males increased with each age group. The street became more dangerous with age, while school and home became safer. Adolescents aged 15–17 years, newborn infants and those injured by firearms had the highest risk of severe injury.

Conclusion

Age and type of violence were the most important predictors of violence frequency and severity. Ethnicity lost importance when adjusted by these factors. Further research on their influence on violence-related injury is needed.

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