The Wild West: Associations between mining and violence in Western Australia
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Objective: To investigate the association between mining activity and police-reported assault offences across Western Australia. Design: A cross-sectional multivariable negative binomial regression analysis at the local government area level. Setting Local government areas in Western Australia. Participants Victims of reported assault offences occurring in 2008–2009. Main outcome measures: Eight reported assault measures by gender of victim and type of assault. The analysis controlled for a range of potentially confounding variables, including numbers of licensed outlets and alcohol sales. Results: Compared with females in other areas, females in mining regions had a 64% increased risk of assault, a 59% increased risk of non-domestic assault and a 136% increased risk of sexual assault. Risk of domestic assault was 64% higher for males in mining regions. Conclusions: Regions where mining is a major employer of people usually or temporarily residing in the area (i.e. usual residents or temporary fly-in fly-out residents) are associated with higher risk of assaults among females and domestic assaults among males, and these associations appear to be independent of licensed outlet numbers and alcohol sales. Mining communities appear to present a special case for the management and reduction of violence; public health and safety intervention needs to identify and address risk factors independent of alcohol use.
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