Violence at work

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2016 Community Service Group Conference
3 November 2015

This conference notes that there is widespread under reporting of violence in the workplace and believes that in many social care workplaces it is wrongly accepted as part of the job.

Commissioners are cutting funding, and placing service users with high needs in homes designed for those with lower needs. This particularly affects services provided by Community employers for children, elderly people, disabled people and those with learning difficulties. However, the general government cuts also affect other services, like housing, where residents face (often unjust) benefit sanctions and so are under high levels of stress.

Whilst crime surveys report very little violence at work, Skills for Care found there was under-reporting. UNISON Community members reported violence to be rife, with 48% having been physically or verbally abused in the last two years.

This conference believes that proper support for service users of housing associations and charities is fundamental to giving staff a safe environment in which to work. But as long as this is not the case, it is essential that employers take steps to ensure the protection of individual staff.

This conference calls on the Community SGE to:

1) Campaign to raise awareness of this problem and seek case studies from Community activists

2. Ask regions and branches with Community members for examples of good policies and then share best practice

3. Work with UNISON’s Health and Safety Committee to produce and distribute guidance on tackling violence at work for branches and activists

4. Approach Community employers’ organisations to undertake joint work on this issue

5. Encourage Community members to become active as health and safety reps to help tackle this problem