13 June 2017
News Category: 
Patient and health stories

Up to 95% of our healthcare workers have experienced verbal or physical assault.

Melbourne Health fully supports the Occupational Violence & Aggression (OVA) in Healthcare public awareness campaign launched today by the Victorian Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy and Minister for Finance, Robin Scott.

The campaign, created by WorkSafe Victoria and the Department of Health and Human Services, aims to help increase awareness of this issue across the healthcare sector and broader Victorian community.

“Our healthcare workers care for us at our most vulnerable and they deserve to be safe and respected in the workplace. Violence or aggression of any kind is not part of the job,” said Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy.

The campaign is aimed at improving awareness of the impact of occupational violence and aggression on healthcare workers - with the message that no matter what the situation, violence and aggression against healthcare workers is never OK.

“It's hard to comprehend that our nurses, doctors, allied health workers and support staff, whose lives are dedicated to caring for the sickest in our community, can suffer violence and aggression on a daily basis in our workplace. It is unacceptable,” said A/Prof Denise Heinjus, Executive Director of Nursing Services and Allied Health.

At Melbourne Health, we believe that all of our staff and volunteers deserve to come to work every day and be safe. This campaign will be promoted across the organisation as work aiming to prevent violence continues through initiatives such as; staff training, wearable audio-visual recording devices for security, CCTV cameras, duress alarms and the use of drug detector dogs in our mental health facilities.

Most people understand that extreme acts of violence are unacceptable. However, not everyone realises there is a scale of violence and aggression. Some examples include:

  • aggressive gestures or expressions such as eye rolling and sneering
  • verbal abuse such as yelling, swearing and name calling
  • intimidating physical behaviour such as standing in a healthcare worker’s personal space or standing over them
  • physical assault such as biting, spitting, scratching, pushing, shoving, tripping and grabbing
  • extreme acts of violence and aggression such as hitting, punching, strangulation, kicking, personal threats, threats with weapons, sexual assault.

If you witness aggressive behavior, please advise a member of staff immediately or, for staff, advise your manager. To contact police in an emergency, call Triple Zero (000).

For more information on the new WorkSafe and DHHS campaign, visit www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/campaigns/itsneverok

Media Contact

For more information about this story, contact Communications on (03) 9342 7000 or email mh-communications@mh.org.au