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Headline
Zero-tolerance for all forms of abuse and harassment towards staff
Date
Mon, 18 Jul 2022
Description

In response to calls for support in dealing with violence and harassment against staff when carrying out their duties, the council has developed protocols on responses to violence, abuse and harassment.

In some cases, staff accept abusive behaviour or abusive correspondence from service users or members of the public as part of the job. The council wants to make it clear that ANY form of harassment or violence against workers, whether committed by co-workers, managers or third parties, is unacceptable.

Violence and abuse includes not only physical assaults and threats but also acts of aggression such as verbal abuse. Incidents have taken place in council premises such as customer service centres and in the community. The council operates a zero-tolerance approach towards violence and abuse. Staff are empowered to terminate interactions with others where they consider they are being subjected to violence and abuse.

The council will support staff in responding to such incidents through measures including the banning of people from council premises and referral of incidents to the police.

What is work-related violence?

The Health and Safety Executive's definition of work-related violence is any incident in which a person is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances relating to their work.

This can take many forms -
• Physical attacks on staff such as slaps, kicking, spitting and more extreme violence
• Physical threats to staff either bodily, verbal or in writing
• Verbal abuse such as, shouting, swearing or insults, or use of racist or homophobic language
• Written abuse such as use of expletives or insults, or use of racist or homophobic language
• Aggressive or abusive references to staff on social media.

Staff can also suffer from targeted campaigns from individuals which can range from constant emails or telephone calls, constant complaints or threats to have members of staff sacked, reported to MPs or the media or referred to disciplinary bodies.

Who is a victim of violence and abuse?

Victims of violence and abuse include the person subjected to work related violence and anybody who has witnessed and been affected by an incident of violence and abuse.

What are an employee's responsibilities with regards to violence and abuse?

Employees should:
• Report incidents of violence and abuse so that they are recorded and action can be taken to warn their colleagues of potentially dangerous individuals or premises.
• Contact their manager if they consider that a member of the public, service user or family member/carer may present a risk of work-related violence.
• Be supportive of colleagues who have been victims of violence and abuse.
• Suggest additional measures as to how to improve reduction of and responses to incidents of violence and abuse.
• If the incident is reported to the police, work with them and offer any assistance needed to help in their enquiries.

What actions can the council take with regards to violence and abuse?

The council will take action by planning to prevent incidents of violence and abuse, preparing staff to manage incidents of work-related violence and taking action to respond to each incident of violence and abuse.

The protocols are intended to be 'living documents'. If any members of staff have suggestions as to how they can be improved or amended, please email notolerance@eastriding.gov.uk

To read in full the two protocols, please visit: https://insight.eastriding.gov.uk/safety-atwork/

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