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 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 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 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.
The Victorian Community Road Safety 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 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
Coroners Court of Victoria – Coroners Prevention
Victorian Burns Prevention
Commission for Children and Young
Kidsafe Victoria (Child Accident Prevention Foundation of
The Royal Children’s Hospital Safety
WHO World Report on Child Injury
Play It Safe By the
National Centre for Farmer
Victorian Poisons Information
Australian Competition & Consumer
Monash University Accident Research
Transport Accident Commission Road
Victorian Parliamentary Road Safety
Australian Centre for Research into Injury in Sport and its
Sport and Recreation Victoria – Keeping Junior Sport
Sports Medicine Australia -Safety Guidelines for Children and Young People in Sport and
Sports Medicine Australia - Concussion in
VicHealth Active Club
Injury prevention resources and publications
Victorian Injury Surveillance Unit - E-Bulletins and Hazard publications on specific injury
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare – injury
Commonwealth Department of Health - Injury strategy
Resources specifically for local government
Local Government Professionals (LGPro) Community Safety Special Interest
Victorian Safe Communities Network, featuring Community Safety Month in
Australian Safe Communities