Sunday, 22 November 2009

Cardiff alcohol and violence research wins top award

Pioneering Cardiff University research into violence, alcohol and late-night safety has been recognised with one of the highest awards in the academic world.

The University’s Violence and Society Research Group is among the winners of a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for excellence in higher education, announced on Wednesday at a ceremony at St James’s Palace, London. Her Majesty the Queen will present the award to the
University at Buckingham Palace in February.

For more than a decade, the Research Group’s findings have been translated into practical action to tackle late-night injuries in city centres. A key part of winning the Award was the Group’s work in setting up the prototype Crime Reduction Partnership in Cardiff in 1996. Academics, health professionals, South Wales Police and
Cardiff Council worked together to identify violence hot-spots. In this period, Cardiff became the safest city of its size in the UK. Following Government legislation, many other communities have now adopted Cardiff’s partnership model, now known in Wales as Community Safety Partnerships.

Other key achievements by the Group, which includes
Cardiff University experts in surgery, medicine, psychology, business and statistics, are:

  • · Use of anonymised Accident and Emergency data to identify trends in late-night violence. This is used by Community Safety Partnerships and in the Group’s annual national violence survey
  • · New programmes of care for violence victims at every stage of their treatment, including a new service for post traumatic stress
  • · Identifying risk factors for violence – including crowd movements, levels of CCTV surveillance and the price of alcohol.
  • · Research on "glassing" injuries which has led to the introduction of toughened glass and plastic vessels in pubs and nightclubs
  • · Research leading to the creation of the Universities’ Police Science Institute – a collaboration between Cardiff University, Glamorgan University and South Wales Police, which combines practical policing research with police training
  • · International policy development for the World Health Organisation Violence Prevention Alliance

Welsh Assembly Government First Minister Rhodri Morgan said: "The Queen’s Anniversary Prize is one of the top honours a University can be awarded and
Cardiff University should be really proud of their achievement.

"I would like to congratulate heartily Professor Jonathan Shepherd and his team because their work has made a real difference to so many people who live in and travel to the capital city of Wales to enjoy its attractions by night and day. It is important that these people feel safe and the University’s research into the cause of violent injury and possible pathways to reduction of harm is helping to achieve that.

Cardiff Violence Prevention Group was established to translate this research into practical action. The results of their work speak volumes – a 40 per cent decrease in violence levels in the Cardiff area."

The Vice-Chancellor of
Cardiff University, Dr David Grant said: “This is not just a triumph for Cardiff University, but for our entire community.

“The Violence and Society Research Group is a perfect example of how academic excellence can bring practical benefits. The team’s discoveries about the causes and consequences of violence have been recognised around the world as breaking new ground in research. This pioneering approach has then been put to work through the
Cardiff Community Safety Partnership, creating a safer environment on our streets in a way which has now been adopted throughout the UK.

"Clearly, we at
Cardiff University are delighted that Professor Shepherd and his team have achieved our fourth success in the Queen’s Anniversary Prizes - one of the most prestigious awards in higher education. We also believe that this is a success in which the NHS, South Wales Police, Cardiff Council and all our local partners can take pride."

Professor Jonathan Shepherd, of
Cardiff University’s School of Dentistry and Director of the Research Group, said: "I first became concerned about this issue as a young surgeon treating the victims of facial injuries every week. It seemed amazing that many cases I saw were not being reported to the police. Over the years, my colleagues and I have worked to find practical solutions from health-based research. It is a great privilege to receive this Award, and hugely encouraging for our continuing work with our partners, locally, nationally and internationally in preventing community violence."

Cardiff’s success in the awards has also been welcomed by its partners:

South Wales Police Chief Constable Barbara Wilding said: “The University Violence and Society Research Group has been one of the key members of the Community Safety Partnership and together we have made great strides in tackling city centre violence and making Cardiff city a safer place. I am delighted that the research group has been the recipient of this prestigious award. Together with our partners we are now looking forward to extend this work throughout the whole of the South Wales area.”

Councillor Judith Woodman,
Cardiff Council Executive Member for Communities, Housing and Social Justice, said: "I am delighted the Violence Research Group is being recognised with this prestigious award. The work undertaken has made a great deal of difference. The partnership of the group which has seen health, the Police and ourselves working closely together with licensees and academics to tackle violent crime has made our city safer for everyone and it is fantastic this success is being acknowledged."

David Francis, Chair of
Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and All-Wales Champion for reducing violence and aggression against NHS staff, said: "I want to congratulate Professor Shepherd and his Cardiff University colleagues on this achievement. It represents many years hard work and has resulted in many less injured people. This is an excellent example of partnership work, with the University and the Health Board working alongside local authority and police partners to make our streets safer and in supporting victims of violence and improving protection for staff from aggressors. Professor Shepherd’s work has been central to this success."


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