The recently released Victorian Drowning Report for 2016/2017 shows forty-five people (78% male, 12% female) lost their lives to drowning in Victoria during the 2016/17 financial year, a 20% increase on the ten-year average.
The report also reveals a 6% increase in the drowning rate for children aged 0-4 years, a 25% increase for young adults aged 15-24 years, an 18% increase for adults aged 25-44 years and a 45% increase for adults aged 65 years and over, compared to the ten-year average.
Two new inclusions in this year’s report provide further snapshots of drowning in public swimming pools, as well as children drowning in home pools. Both of these issues have been identified as key priority areas for action and will be areas of significant focus in drowning prevention activities for 2017/18, with a need to improve pool barrier requirements and highlight the importance of supervision.
Life Saving Victoria (LSV)’s Principal Research Associate, Dr Bernadette Matthews, compiled the report and says paramedics also attended 54 non-fatal drowning incidents in Victoria during the period, bringing the number of drowning incidents across the state to 99.
“Drownings are shocking to both families of the victims and the public, especially because each drowning could have been prevented,” says Dr Matthews. “Non-fatal drownings gain less attention, but they also have far-reaching effects on families and also on the victims, who may never fully recover. Including all drowning incidents gives a fuller picture and is important in formulating our prevention tactics.”
She says the increase of drowning in older adults is being addressed through the Play it Safe by the Water campaign. Over summer this age group will continue to be targeted with TV, radio and online advertisements, supported with targeted practical water safety programs, for example the Grey Medallion program.
Read the full article and download the report on the Life Saving Victoria website: lsv.com.au/blog/2017/12/01/20-per-cent-increase-drowning-deaths-victoria-201617