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Effects of the Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic on Assault-Related Head Injury in Melbourne: A Retrospective Study

Author

Listed:
  • Juan F Domínguez D

    (Cognitive Neuroscience Unit, School of Psychology, Deakin University, Geelong, VIC 3220, Australia)

  • Johnny Truong

    (Cognitive Neuroscience Unit, School of Psychology, Deakin University, Geelong, VIC 3220, Australia)

  • Jake Burnett

    (Cognitive Neuroscience Unit, School of Psychology, Deakin University, Geelong, VIC 3220, Australia)

  • Lata Satyen

    (School of Psychology, Deakin University, Burwood, VIC 3125, Australia)

  • Hamed Akhlaghi

    (Cognitive Neuroscience Unit, School of Psychology, Deakin University, Geelong, VIC 3220, Australia
    Department of Emergency Medicine, St. Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne, VIC 3065, Australia)

  • Julian Stella

    (Department of Emergency Medicine, Geelong Hospital, Geelong, VIC 3220, Australia)

  • Nick Rushworth

    (Brain Injury Australia, Sydney, NSW 2112, Australia)

  • Karen Caeyenberghs

    (Cognitive Neuroscience Unit, School of Psychology, Deakin University, Geelong, VIC 3220, Australia)

Abstract

Assault is the leading preventable cause of death, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and associated mental health problems. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on patterns of interpersonal violence across the world. In this retrospective cross-sectional study, we analysed medical records of 1232 assault victims (domestic violence: 111, random assault: 900, prison assault: 221) with head injuries who presented to the emergency department (ED) at St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, a city with one of the longest and most severe COVID-19 restrictions worldwide. We examined changes in prevalence in the assault group overall and in domestic violence, random assault, and prison assault victims, comparing data from 19.5 months before and after the first day of COVID-19 restrictions in Melbourne. Moreover, we investigated differences driven by demographic factors ( Who : age group, sex, and nationality) and clinical variables ( Where : assault location, and When : time of arrival to the ED and time from moment of injury until presentation at ED). Descriptive statistics and chi-square analyses were performed. We found the COVID-19 pandemic significantly affected the Where of assault-related TBI, with a shift in the location of assaults from the street to the home, and the increase at home being driven by random assaults on middle-aged adults. Overall, we observed that 86% of the random assault cases were males, whereas 74% of the domestic assault cases were females. Meanwhile, nearly half (44%) of the random assault victims reported alcohol consumption versus a fifth (20%) of domestic violence victims. These findings will have direct implications for developing screening tools and better preventive and ameliorative interventions to manage the sequelae of assault TBI, particularly in the context of future large-scale health crises or emergencies.

Suggested Citation

  • Juan F Domínguez D & Johnny Truong & Jake Burnett & Lata Satyen & Hamed Akhlaghi & Julian Stella & Nick Rushworth & Karen Caeyenberghs, 2022. "Effects of the Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic on Assault-Related Head Injury in Melbourne: A Retrospective Study," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 20(1), pages 1-19, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jijerp:v:20:y:2022:i:1:p:63-:d:1009869
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    References listed on IDEAS

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