Can we ever manage violence and aggression?

Well so much for us hoping 2012 would see a reduction in workplace violence!

So far staff and employees continue to deal with violence and aggression from the very people they are employed to serve. Across all sectors hard working employees are being hurt, sometimes seriously, as they try to meet the ever increasing expectations of customers and patients against a backdrop of budget and resource cuts.

During the first two weeks of January we have seen reports of increased attacks on Fire Fighters in Scotland and Ambulance crews in the North West of England. Heard of teaching staff punched and burned in the United States, a teacher in the South East of England hospitalised with a broken leg and suspected dislocated knee cap following an attack by a 10 year old boy. Retail staff are not immune, pharmacy, supermarket and convenience store workers abused and assaulted for refusing sales, in the night time economy door-supervisors have been physically attacked and had guns pointed at them.

Residential care provision is equally well represented in the workplace violence tables with support staff assaulted in medium secure mental health settings, hospital staff also see there fair share of aggressive behaviours, to the extent where security provision has had to be increased in one hospital in Queensland, Australia. Community nurses, an RCN survey reveals, feel that over the past two years risks to lone working has increased with patient expectation and increased workloads the principle reason behind it.

Most workplaces are now acutely aware of their responsibilities in the area of violence risk management and many are turning to training staff as a control measure. Workplace violence is a complex risk and cannot alone be managed through training; too many organisations are exposing themselves and staff to risk by not supporting the training messages operationally. Assault Reduction is about tying together policy, procedure and practice to keep staff, patients, service users and customers safe. 

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