Ending violence at work in the third sector
Violence at work in the community and housing association sectors, is a serious problem. It is consistently raised by UNISON members as one of their greatest concerns at work.
Recent surveys show that nearly half our members in the sector have experienced an incident of violence or aggression at work in the previous two years. These survey results have consistently shown a high level of exposure to violence for staff working in the third sector.
Incidents include staff being punched, pushed and kicked while carrying out their jobs. Staff are threatened and sometimes even held against their will. In addition to more extreme incidents, it is clear that lower level violence and verbal abuse is worryingly, seen by some staff, as a routine part of their working lives.
Employers already have a legal duty to protect their staff, but UNISON’s charter aims to raise awareness and encourage best practice in tackling violence at work. We want to put an end to it being seen as either a routine or normal part of the job.
Violence Work Charter
UNISON’s Violence at Work Charter is a list of 10 basic actions that employers can take to improve safety at work for their staff. They include appropriate training, support for the victims of violence and monitoring of incidents.
UNISON is challenging charity and housing association employers to sign up to the charter to show that they take the issue seriously – and will take action to reduce violent incidents in the workplace.
Get more involved
If you are a UNISON member and want to get your employer to sign the charter, please email our community and voluntary sector team.
If you experience violence at work
If you experience violence at work you should:
- Inform your line manager immediately.
- If you are able to, make sure the organisation’s policies are followed in relation to safety and violence.
- If you require further support, contact your UNISON rep or your branch. (You can call UNISON Direct free if you’re not sure what branch you are in: 0800 0 857 857. Have your UNISON membership number handy if possible.)
- Find out if your employer is signed up to the Violence at Work Charter. If they are, ask them to follow the commitments in the charter.
If you’re not yet a UNISON member, you can join now and get better protection at work and home.
What the Health and Safety Executive says about violence at work