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Comparative study of violence against Spanish and foreign victims attended in a hospital emergency department in 2009

Samanes Ara E, Morellón Labarta M, Egido Martínez T, Gil Sánchez E, Bell Martínez B, Martínez-Jarreta B

Servicio de Urgencias. Hospital Ntra. Sra. De Gracia. Zaragoza, Spain. Departamento de Medicina Legal y Toxicología. Universidad de Zaragoza. Zaragoza, Spain.

Objective: To compare the profile of foreigners in Spain who are victims of violent
attacks to the profile of Spanish victims.
Methods: Retrospective observational single-centre study of victims of violent attacks
who were treated in the emergency department in 2009. Variables collected were
nationality, age, sex, type of violence, and diagnosis.
Results: Medical records for 1714 victims were analyzed. Foreign and Spanish victims
had different profiles. Foreigners suffered 41.2% of attacks, a higher percentage than
their weight in the population, and they also sustained more serious injuries. The largest
victim groups were from Latin America (14.7%), North Africa (8.8%), and Eastern
Europe (8.7%). Chinese victims formed the smallest group (2.4%). The mean (SD) ages
of Spanish and foreign victims were 36.4 (14.0) years and 32.1 (9.2) years, respectively
(P<.001). Significantly more men than women were victims in all groups (P<.001). The
percentages of men were similar for Spanish (59.6%) and foreign (61.0%) victims in
general, with the exception of North Africans, a group in which many more men were
victims (84%). Gender-related violence was more common among foreign-born victims
(30.0%) than among Spanish victims (P<.001). Latin Americans had the highest rate of
gender-related violence at 40.2%, followed by Eastern Europeans (30.9%) and sub-
Saharan Africans (28.7%). The percentage of gender-related violence among North
Africans was low (15.2%). Most cases involved injuries not requiring medical treatment;
91.2% of the Spanish victims and 82.3% of the foreign-born victims were in that group
(P<.001). Injuries requiring some form of medical treatment (nonspecialist emergency
care, specialized emergency care and/or hospitalization, and life-threatening injuries)
were sustained by 5.5% of the Spanish-born victims and 11.7% of the foreigners. North
African victims most often required medical attention.

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