TAFE & Adult Provision Occupational violence in focus

  • By Phil Smith
  • This article was published more than 4 years ago.
  • 16 Dec 2019

Up to 95% of Victorian healthcare workers, including disability workers, have experienced verbal or physical assault in the workplace. This is not acceptable. 

Around Victoria, healthcare organisations have implemented a range of strategies to reduce the incidence of violence and aggression, many of which are showing encouraging results. WorkSafe has compiled case studies from seven of these organisations in a booklet intended to be a useful source of ideas for similar organisations seeking to address these challenges.

Work-related violence refers to any incident in which a person is abused, threatened or assaulted at work. This definition covers a broad range of actions and behaviours that can create a risk to the health and safety of workers. Some industries describe behaviours that fit this description as ‘acting out’, ‘challenging behaviour’ or ‘behaviours of concern’. 

Examples of work-related violence include:

  • biting, spitting, scratching, hitting and kicking

  • throwing objects

  • pushing, shoving, tripping and grabbing

  • verbal threats, armed robbery and sexual assault

  • attacks with any type of weapon (for example knives, guns and clubs).

Service-related violence arises when providing services to clients, customers, patients or prisoners. It generally occurs in the hospitality, retail, health, aged care, disability, youth services, education and enforcement industries. Often, service-related violence is unintentional, but it does cause harm and is therefore a risk to a worker’s health and safety.

Resources and training available for workers are available from WorkSafe.

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