Public Service Workers Suffer 40,000 Violent Attacks

21 October 2016, 06:00

More than 40,000 violent assaults against public service workers in Scotland have been recorded in the past decade, according to a survey.

Unison's annual Violence at Work Survey 2016 launched on Friday showing a rise of 20,000 to 40,000 violent assaults against public service and local authority workers in the period between 2006 and 2016.

There has been a significant rise of recorded violent incidents within local authorities rising from 13,206 to 17,605 this year, with authorities including Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and Stirling reporting significant increases.

Unison say the increase cannot be explained by better awareness and reporting, but instead insist that violence against workers must be addressed by employers and the government.

Care workers experience twice the national average risk of assault while nurses are four times that, the union said.

School assistants are also said to be suffering from high level assaults, mostly against females.

It was also found that 83% of workers within the voluntary sector surveyed said that their employer regarded violence as part of the job.

Scott Donohue, UNISON chair of health and safety committee, said, "Violence against public service workers has increased, with significant increases against local authority workers.

"We cannot ignore a doubling of the figures over 10 years.

"It is also reasonable to make the correlation between the swingeing cuts to councils and increase in violence to council workers.

"Staff tell us if you have to wait longer, or the service you need is no longer available, or a support worker has less time to spent with a client, it's being taken out on those working face to face with the public.

"At very least, councils should fully implement the Scottish Centre for Healthy Working Lives guidelines 2010, in order that we can make the level of violent assaults fall across Scotland.''