Cardiff University: WHO endorses ‘Cardiff Model’ for tackling violence

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Pioneered by Professor Jonathan Shepherd, the model brings agencies together to prevent violence using data collected in emergency departments (EDs) as well as police intelligence.

The head of WHO’s Prevention of Violence Unit says the template, which uses A&E data to pinpoint violence hotspots, should be now rolled out worldwide by local and national authorities.

In his foreword to a newly published 2022 report, The Cardiff Model for Violence Prevention, Dr Alexander Butchart notes that whilst the system exemplifies the public health approach to violence prevention, the clear role that hospital emergency departments can play is ‘woefully neglected in most parts of the world.’

Dr Butchart adds: “The Cardiff Model [has been] replicated across the United Kingdom, and in cities in Australia, the Netherlands, and the USA, while in Colombia, Jamaica and South Africa local authorities are experimenting with the Cardiff Model as a way of grappling with often sky-high rates of alcohol, gun, and drug-related violence.”

But Professor Shepherd, from Cardiff University’s Security, Crime and Intelligence Innovation Institute, notes the system he began to develop over 25 years ago has still not been formally implemented across Wales.

“The Cardiff Model is a Welsh export to several countries including England but has yet to be put into practice consistently here at home. Welsh Government has an important part to play to ensure people across Wales benefit from the safety it brings.

“Welsh Government can realise these benefits by ensuring the software used in A&Es includes the necessary data items: on precise violence location, weapon used, and assailants. This has happened in England. Recording these straightforward data needs to be mandatory – not optional.”

The report lauds notable public health innovations developed through the model since the late 1990s, including the use of toughened glasses in bars, real-time CCTV usage, information sharing with school nurses, and pedestrian areas in trouble-spots.

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