Acute injury and violence

Acute injury refers to any physical damage to the body that occurs suddenly as a result of force. There are many ways in which a person can be injured, either unintentionally (for example, in an accidental fall or being hit by a vehicle), or intentionally through violence, war or attempted suicide. The figure below shows the distribution of deaths as a result of different types of injury worldwide.

Pie chart of deaths worldwide to intentional and accidental injuries among people aged 15–45 years

Percentage of deaths worldwide due to intentional and accidental (unintentional) injuries among people aged 15–45 years. (Diagram: The Open University, Trauma, Repair and Recovery, SDK125, Case Study 6, Figure 1.3)

What are the top four causes of injury-related deaths shown in the figure above?

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They are: road traffic injuries (22.8%), other unintentional injuries (18.1%, i.e. not due to drowning, fires, falls or poisoning), suicide (16.9%), and interpersonal violence (10.8%).

Violence includes rape and is the intentional and unlawful use of force between two individuals, or a group of people, leading to physical or mental harm. It is a major public health problem worldwide – each year more than two million people die as a result of injuries caused by violence. Many millions survive their injuries, but remain permanently disabled. Many other health problems result from violent assaults, including mental disorders, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), unwanted pregnancies and behavioural problems.

Last modified: Tuesday, 15 July 2014, 9:47 PM