The number of people in their 50s and 60s requiring emergency hospital treatment for assault has reached its highest level in nine years, research shows.
Scientists from Cardiff University looked at annual surveys carried out by 111 A&E departments, minor-injury centres and walk-in units since 2002.
More than 20,000 people aged over 51 went to A&E in England and Wales in 2019 for a violence-related injury, the highest rate since 2011.
Although unclear, the scientists believe these incidents were driven by alcohol, a “growing” problem among this age group.
The team worry some older people are still bingeing like they did when they were younger.
“Current cohorts of older people exhibited higher alcohol consumption levels in the past and may be continuing their relatively higher levels into older age,” they said.
“Since heavy binge drinking, and violence associated with it, were much more frequent three or four decades ago, it seems possible that this generational trait is also reflected in slowly increasing the risk of injury in violence,” the BBC reported.
The number of people aged over 65 admitted to hospital in England for an alcohol-related condition has risen by 14% since 2008/9.
Alcohol is thought to make people more aggressive by reducing their ability to think straight.
When provoked, a drunk person may therefore be more likely to rise to the bait.
Excessive drinking may also cause people to miss social cues and misinterpret situations. This may lead to them getting into a fight if someone bumps into them at a bar.
Alcohol-related incidents aside, injuries caused by violence have been continuously on the decline almost since the survey began.
In 2019, the number of violence admissions fell by 6%, the steepest drop since 2015. Since 2010, admissions have almost halved, with a 45% decline.
Across all age groups, an estimated 175,764 people attended emergency NHS facilities with a violence-related injury in 2019, down 11,820 from the year before.
Most of the injuries were a result of hits, punches or kicks. Knife attacks made up 5% of cases.
Read more: Two alcoholic drinks a day 'is not safe'
Among young adults, violence-related admissions were down 12% in 2019, while the number of admissions declined by 9% in those aged between 31 and 50.
Experts have voiced fears this will trigger abuse, as well as health complications if people continue to overindulge.
Domestic violence app Hollieguard announced a 30% rise in alerts in the weeks since the restrictions were put in place in the UK on 23 March.
The new figures come after the women’s-aid charity Refuge announced a 25% rise in calls to its domestic violence helpline.
The pioneering project Counting Dead Women has claimed domestic abuse killings are suspected to have doubled since the lockdown began.