Patterns and Trends of Gun Violence Against Women in the United States

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OBJECTIVE: To examine patterns and trends of firearm injuries in a nationally representative sample of US women. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA: Gun violence in the United States exceeds rates seen in most other industrialized countries. Due to the paucity of data little is known regarding demographics and temporal variations in firearm injuries among women. METHODS: Data were extracted from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (2001-2017) for women 18 years and older. Number of nonfatal firearm assaults and homicide per year were extracted and crude population-based injury rates were calculated. Sub-stratification by age-group and time period were performed. RESULTS: Between 2001 and 2017, there were 88,823 nonfatal firearm assaults involving women and 29,106 firearm homicides. There were 4116 victims of nonfatal firearm assault in 2001 (3.8 per 105) and 12,959 by 2017 (10.0 per 105). Homicide rates were 1.5 per 105 in 2001 and 1.7 per 105 in 2017. Sub-stratification by age-group and time period showed that there were no significant changes in nonfatal firearm assault rates between 2001 and 2010 (P-trend = 0.132 in 18-44 yo; 0.298 in 45-64 yo). However between 2011 and 2017, nonfatal assault rates increased from 7.10 per 105 to 19.24 per 105 in 18-44 yo (P-trend = 0.013) and from 1.48 per 105 to 3.93 per 105 in 45-64 yo (P-trend = 0.003). Similar trends were seen with firearm homicide among 18-44 yo (1.91 per 105 to 2.47 per 105 in 2011-2017, P-trend = 0.022). However, the trends among 45-64 yo were not significant in both time periods. CONCLUSIONS: Female victims of gun violence are increasing and more recent years have been marked with higher rates of firearm injuries, particularly among younger women. These data suggest that improved public health strategies and policies may be beneficial in reducing gun violence against US women.

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