Prevention and management of violence and aggression in health services

How to prevent and manage occupational violence and aggression (OVA) towards health services workers in your organisation.


What it contains

WorkSafe Victoria (WorkSafe) recognises and appreciates the time and expertise given by all professionals, organisations and associations who participated in the original development of the guidebook and this refreshed version.

This version of the guidebook is being released to coincide with the launch of a public awareness campaign targeting occupational violence and aggression (OVA) in healthcare, developed in collaboration with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Ambulance Victoria. The key message of the campaign is that violence and aggression towards healthcare workers is never okay.

Purpose and scope

Prevention and management of occupational violence and aggression (OVA) is an occupational health and safety (OHS) issue that requires a multi-faceted organisational approach. Employers should identify, prevent and manage OVA in health service workplaces. This guidebook aims to help health service employers understand their duties under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic) (OHS Act), and provides guidance on how to:

  • identify hazards and risks related to OVA
  • implement appropriate control measures
  • respond to incidents and learn from incidents to improve prevention

This guidebook is designed to be a resource for managers, supervisors, health and safety representatives (HSRs) and others involved in developing strategies to prevent and manage OVA. The guidance in this guidebook may also be useful to employees.

This guidebook should be read in conjunction with the toolkit found at the end of the publication. References to these tools are made throughout this guidebook.