Violence at Work

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2016 Community Service Group Conference
2 November 2015

This Conference notes the sterling work done by UNISON Scotland in:

• surveying violence at work over a twelve year period

• campaigning for Zero Tolerance of all workplace assaults; and,

• securing the Emergency Workers (Scotland) act 2005 which gives key public sector workers added legal protection

Conference notes that this detailed recording of public sector assaults sits in contrast to the dearth of reliable data on assaults in the community sector.

The Health and Safety Executive quotes the Skills for Care report [2013] which contains no aggregate data on the frequency or severity of assaults, partly because over 60% of survey responses failed to provide data.

Skills for Care also highlighted that a significant number of employers never record physical or sexual assaults on social care staff.

Meanwhile, insurance companies report a steady rise in claims against Employer Liability Insurance policies arising from workplace violence with assaults now accounting for as much as 30% of insurance claims.

Conference therefore agrees that

• freedom from violence is a fundamental human right and no community sector worker should work in fear of assault

• the service group should campaign for zero tolerance and expose the failure of employers to meet their obligation to record workplace assaults

• the service group should use available data to expose the frequency and severity of assaults, year-on-year, and campaign for effective regulation to compel community sector employers to record and report workplace assaults and adopt policies and procedures to make the community sector safe.