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Workplace Violence

Even though we work in the anti-violence field, we sometimes overlook the need for workplace violence prevention and intervention plans for our own programs. While agencies may be well aware of the risk of violence from an abuser who is connected to a client, we may not consider the possibility of employee-to-employee violence, risk from someone who is stalking or abusing a staff member, or threats from a worker whose employment is being terminated.

Managers could use the following questions (at a staff meeting, for example) to open up a conversation about workplace violence. Consider taking the online Domestic and Sexual Violence in the Workplace Quiz as a group to stimulate discussion. If your program has a Safety Committee, they could assist you in addressing this issue.

Discussion Questions for Sexual Assault Program Staff

  • What forms of workplace violence do you believe we are at risk for?
  • What would you do if a member of the public was verbally abusive to you on the telephone?
  • What would you do if a co-worker tells you they are in danger from a partner, and the partner threatened to confront them at work, but the co-worker insists that you do not tell anyone about their concerns?
  • What strategies would you use to de-escalate hostility by an individual who came to the office and was very angry?
  • What are our current procedures to reduce the risk of workplace violence? What are our workplace violence policies?
  • What resources would you need to respond to a call on the crisis line about actual or feared workplace violence?

Resources

Reviewed: April 8th, 2016