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Responding to Violence, Suicide, Psychosis and Trauma

Exposure to Violence Among UK Social Care Staff

In a recent article in the British Journal of Social Work (2012) 42, 851-869, Harris & Leather report a fascinating study on the levels of exposure to violence in UK social care staff. Their conclussion is that more attention needs to be taken to the role of fear. Indeed I have alsways argued that violence is primarily a psychological issue and not rally about the physical act at all. None-the-less the figures are staggering:

  • 9 out of 10 UK social workers have been abused, assaulted or threatened at work (McGregor, 2010)
  • 20% of all British workers signed off following work-related assaults work in Social Care (Lombard, 2010)
  • 25-33% of social care staff are assaulted oveby clieents over a 3-4 year period (Denny, 2010)

Client violence is also reported as the principal source of stress among social care staff Huxley et al, 2005) Residential workers are at greatest risk with Home Care staff least.None-the-less, most employers, both voluntary and statutory give little more than lip-service to the physical safety of their staff, and pay virtually no attention to their psychological safety.

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