Key messages

  • Injury is a major burden of disease that can be prevented.
  • Effective injury prevention measures identify injury causes, remove them or reduce people’s exposure to them.
  • Injury prevention is a community-wide responsibility.

Injury affects Australians of all ages. It is the greatest cause of death between the ages of 1 and 44 years and leaves many with serious disabilities or long-term conditions. The leading causes of injury are falls, attempted suicide, transport, drowning and poisoning. Each year in Victoria injury results in over 2,000 deaths and over 400,000 hospitalisations, costing the state over $730 million in direct hospital costs. The number of injuries treated each year by GPs, rehabilitation professionals and other allied health practitioners is unknown, but would also be substantial.

For these reasons, injury prevention is a key priority area of the Victorian Public Health and Wellbeing Plan 2015–2019.

Victorian Injury Prevention Program

The Victorian Injury Prevention Program leads a diverse range of activities, including the provision of policy advice and the development of strategies, research support, stakeholder liaison, and monitoring and evaluation.

The program has links with an extensive range of stakeholders and adopts a collaborative approach in the development and implementation of injury prevention initiatives.

Victorian Injury Surveillance Unit

The Victorian Injury Surveillance Unit (VISU) at Monash University analyses, interprets and disseminates Victorian data on injury deaths, hospital admissions (Victorian Admitted Episodes Dataset - VAED ) and emergency department presentations (Victorian Emergency Minimum Dataset - VEMD). This data is used to underpin government injury prevention policies, stimulate research and to develop and evaluate prevention strategies and measures.

Local government organisations and municipalities are particularly encouraged to use VISU data for their planning of local injury prevention activities, for example, for municipal public health and wellbeing plans and community safety plans.

Information request service

The VISU data and information request service is available to government and non-government organisations and agencies, health and safety organisations, the higher education and research sectors, industry and business, and community members. Interested organisations should submit an online data request form via the VISU website.

Child injury prevention - Kidsafe Victoria

Kidsafe Victoria (Child Accident Prevention Foundation of Australia) is an independent, non-profit, non-government, charitable foundation dedicated to the prevention of unintentional death, injury and associated disability to children. Kidsafe advocates for awareness of child safety issues and injury prevention by working in cooperation with a variety of stakeholders, including government, industry, schools, hospitals, the media, community groups, voluntary organisations and individuals.

Kidsafe Victoria provides information and resources for various child injury issues, including falls prevention, drowning prevention, poisoning prevention and road safety for children.

Child poisoning prevention

Poisoning is the second highest cause of zero to four-year-old child hospitalisations in Victoria. Remove the risk is a child poisoning prevention resource that includes the brochure Is your home poison proof? The brochure provides information to help parents poison-proof their homes. This resource is distributed to parents by local Maternal and Child Health services, and is auspiced by the Department of Education & Training.

Safe environments for children

Injury prevention is embedded in the Healthy Together Victoria Achievement Program. The program includes safe environments as a priority health issue and includes statewide benchmarks intended to facilitate early childhood services and schools to reduce the risk of injury by promoting safe environments.

Child restraint best practice

The National Guidelines for the Safe Restraint of Children Travelling in Motor Vehicles have been developed under the auspices of Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) and Kidsafe. They provide best practice recommendations that have been approved by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). The guidelines provide straightforward, consistent advice from various sources on how to keep children safe in cars.

Falls prevention among older people

Falls are the leading cause of injury among older Australians. As well as physical injury, falls can cause loss of confidence and fear of falling, so over time, older people may become less active, which may increase their risk of falling. Evidence suggests falls can be prevented by exercising, modifying the environment (particularly at home) and reducing some medications. Vitamin D and calcium supplements can also reduce fall-related fractures.

Victorian healthcare providers and community services can use a range of resources to assess the risks associated with falls, and then identify ways of addressing those risks. 

Road safety

The Victorian Community Road Safety Alliance builds a cohesive, coordinated and multi-organisational effort at a statewide level to provide leadership, advice and guidance on community road safety initiatives. Its Victorian Community Road Safety Partnership Program currently provides an avenue for community involvement in addressing priority local road safety issues.

Sport injury prevention

The Sports Injury Prevention Taskforce examined the sports injury related barriers that prevent people from leading a more active lifestyle and provided advice on improving risk management and sports injury prevention strategies for safe sporting environments. Although the taskforce concluded in 2013, its recommendations are still relevant today.

Organisations involved in injury prevention

General injury research and data

Monash Injury Research Institute (MIRI)

Coroners Court of Victoria – Coroners Prevention Unit


Burns-related injury

Kids Foundation

Victorian Burns Prevention Partnership


Child injury

Commission for Children and Young People

Kidsafe Victoria (Child Accident Prevention Foundation of Australia)

The Royal Children’s Hospital Safety Centre

WHO World Report on Child Injury Prevention


Drowning-related injury

Life Saving Victoria

Play It Safe By the Water

  

Occupational injury

Farmsafe

National Centre for Farmer Health

Worksafe Victoria

 

Poisoning-related injury

Victorian Poisons Information Centre

 

Product-related injury

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission

Consumer Affairs Victoria

 

Road-related injury

Monash University Accident Research Centre

Transport Accident Commission Road Safety

VicRoads Road Safety

Victorian Parliamentary Road Safety Committee


Sports injury

Australian Centre for Research into Injury in Sport and its Prevention

Sport and Recreation Victoria – Keeping Junior Sport Safe

Sports Medicine Australia -Safety Guidelines for Children and Young People in Sport and Recreation

Sports Medicine Australia - Concussion in Sport

VicHealth Active Club Grants


Injury prevention resources and publications

Victorian Injury Surveillance Unit - E-Bulletins and Hazard publications on specific injury topics

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare – injury reports

Commonwealth Department of Health - Injury strategy documents

 

Resources specifically for local government

Local Government Professionals (LGPro) Community Safety Special Interest Group

Victorian Safe Communities Network, featuring Community Safety Month in October

Australian Safe Communities Foundation