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A survey was performed of 425 consecutive patients attending Lewisham Hospital as a result of deliberate physical violence. Eighty-two per cent attended 'out of hours', and in at least 50% alcohol was a contributing factor. Less than half the incidents were reported to the police. Fifteen per cent of the attacks were due to knives and accounted for 47% of the admissions and 90% of the serious injuries. The results support the view that it is becoming common for youths to be armed. Assault victims, particularly those with knife wounds place a considerable burden on hospital resources. Accident and Emergency departments are ideal places to monitor the epidemiology of assaults.