The number of violent attacks needing hospital treatment fell by 14% last year.
An estimated 267,291 people were admitted to accident and emergency (A&E) units for violence-related injuries in 2012, some 40,706 fewer than in 2011, data supplied by the units showed.
Those at highest risk of violence-related injury were men and people aged 18 to 30 years old, while A&E attendance for violent incidents was most frequent on Saturday and Sunday.
Lead author of the study and director of the Violence and Society Research Group at Cardiff University, Professor Jonathan Shepherd, said: “These findings are important because they show that England and Wales became safer, that people can be less worried about being harmed, and that the cost of violence to the NHS and to communities is coming down.”
The figures, based on a sample of 54 emergency departments and minor injury units in England and Wales, also showed a 14% decline in violent injury for both men and women, similar to falls in 2007.
Serious violence affecting all age groups decreased in 2012 compared to 2011 with falls among young children and adolescents - down 24% - and young adults - down 13% - the largest.
Apart from a 7% increase in 2008, levels of serious violence have fallen every year since 2001, according to this measure.
The months of February, April and November marked the least busy periods for emergency department admissions.
This is likely owing to these months falling between major festivals such as Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Easter, the study found, and outside the summer months when increased numbers of the population gravitate into cities and town centres.
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