• alcohol;
  • assault;
  • emergency department;
  • glass;
  • injury



The study aims to describe the characteristics of patients presenting to EDs within Queensland, Australia with injuries because of assault with a glass implement (‘glassing’) and to set this within the broader context of presentations because of alcohol-related violence.


This is an analysis of prospectively collected ED injury surveillance data collated by the Queensland Injury Surveillance Unit between 1999 and 2011. Cases of injury because of alcohol-related violence were identified and analysed using coded fields supplemented with qualitative data contained within the injury description text. Descriptive statistics were used to assess the characteristics of injury presentations because of alcohol-related violence. Violence included interpersonal violence and aggression (verbal aggression and object violence).


A total of 4629 cases were studied. The study population was predominantly men (72%) and aged 18 to 24 (36%), with men in this age group comprising more than a quarter of the study population (28%). Nine per cent of alcohol-related assault injuries were a consequence of ‘glassing’. The home was the most common location for alcohol-related violence (31%) and alcohol-related ‘glassings’ (33%). Overall, the most common glass object involved was a bottle (75%); however, within licensed venues an even mix of a drinking glass (44%) and glass bottle (45%) was identified.


Contrary to public perception generated by media, ‘glassing’ incidents, particularly at licensed venues, constitute a relatively small proportion of all alcohol-related violence. The current study highlights the predominance of young men injured following alcohol-related violence, demonstrating a key focus area within the population for aiming prevention strategies.