Call to stamp out work related violence

WorkSafe is urging all Victorians to change their attitudes as COVID-19 testers, vaccination staff and other front line workers face ugly aggression from members of the public.


Awareness of the devastating impact that work related violence can have on workers is growing thanks to WorkSafe's confronting It's Never Ok campaign.

But as the campaign returns to our screens this week, WorkSafe Acting Executive Director of Health and Safety Andrew Keen said community attitudes must continue to change if we are to stamp out this unacceptable behaviour.

"It's distressing to see the anger and at times physical violence aimed at workers, particularly those who are putting their own welfare on the line to help keep the rest of us healthy and safe in these uncertain times," he said.

"Whether it is a nurse, doctor, police officer, bus driver or retail worker, this behaviour is unacceptable because of the crippling psychological and physical trauma it causes."

"Everyone has a right to a healthy and safe workplace, whatever the circumstances; no matter if you are a worker, customer or member of the public, violence in the workplace is never ok."

Mr Keen said it was heartening to see that many people were taking this crucial message on board since the campaign first aired earlier this year.

Campaign tracking data shows that half of Victorians are now aware of the central message, with awareness and understanding of the issue highest amongst employers.

Employers who saw the ads were also more likely to acknowledge that it is their responsibility to protect their workers from all forms of violence.

Work-related violence can also cause severe distress and mental injuries to those who witness it but many incidents still go unreported.

Workers who saw the campaign said they would be more likely to report incidents than those who didn't.

The latest campaign burst will again drive home the simple message that violence in the workplace is never ok, with ads appearing in print, television, radio and digital to further increase that awareness.

The ads feature incidents from the worker's perspective to remind employers and the community why violence and abuse is never 'just part of the job'.

Violence in the workplace can range from verbal abuse, yelling, spitting, swearing, demeaning language to gendered violence and physical assault.

The campaign is being supported with messaging to employers to remind them of their obligations. This includes targeted inspection programs in high risk industries and the provision of guidance for employers.

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