Tuesday 27 September 2016

90% of social care workers have experienced workplace violence – new research

Daire Courtney

Published 07/09/2016 | 15:40

All workers in Children’s Residential services surveyed reported at least one experience of violence (Photo posed)
All workers in Children’s Residential services surveyed reported at least one experience of violence (Photo posed)

Social care workers across different sectors have experienced verbal and physical attacks and insufficient support is available, a Social Care Ireland survey has found.

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All workers in Children’s Residential services surveyed reported at least one experience of violence.

Only 38pc of respondents said they always had access to ongoing and up-to-date training in dealing with violence and 78pc said that they never or only sometimes had adequate numbers of staff.

The survey found that there is an ‘expectation and acceptance’ of violence as part of the job among many of the agencies responsible for social care workers, and that support was inconsistent across sectors and agencies. Respondents reported a lack of access to counselling and support and a ‘get on with it’ attitude from management in some cases.

Only half of workers surveyed had access to medical attention after a violent incident and less than half were offered shirt cover afterwards.

Violence was found not only to have an impact on the worker, but also on the recruitment, which authors were concerned could hurt the sector as a whole.

The report recommended an increase in funding for staff and training in the sector and an end to complacency in the sector. It also highlighted zero-hours contracts in the sector as an issue, since part-time workers and less experienced workers were more likely to be employed in unsafe environments and less likely to have access to support.

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