Violence to Staff: Who is at Risk?

  • John Turnbull


Violence is a problem that affects people emotionally as well as physically. To understand how we can minimise the risks to staff, we need to begin by looking at which of them are more likely to become victims and in what circumstances. For example, does it make a difference if you are a nurse or a social worker? Are you at greater risk if you are a man or a woman? Are some units or workplaces more dangerous than others? Are there some groups of people for whom you care or support more likely to become violent?


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aiken G.J.M. (1984) Assaults on staff in a locked ward: prediction and consequences, Medicine, Science and the Law, 24(3): 199–207.Google Scholar
  2. Basque L.O. and Merhige J. (1980) Nurses’ experiences with dangerous behaviour: implications for training, Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 11(9): 47–51.Google Scholar
  3. Beardshaw V. (1981) Conscientious Objectors at Work: Mental Hospital Workers — a Case Study, London, Social Audit.Google Scholar
  4. Bernstein H.A. (1981) Survey of threats and assaults directed towards psychotherapists, American journal of Psychotherapy, 35: 243–5.Google Scholar
  5. Boyd W. (1996) Report of the Confidential Inquiry into Homicides and Suicides by Mentally Ill People, London, Royal College of Psychiatrists.Google Scholar
  6. Breakwell G. (1989) Facing Physical Violence, London, Routledge.Google Scholar
  7. Breakwell G. and Rowett C. (1989) Violence and social work. In Archer J. and Browne K. (eds) Human Aggression: Naturalistic Approaches, London, Routledge.Google Scholar
  8. Brown R., Bute S. and Ford P. (1986) Social Workers at Risk: The Prevention and Management of Violence, Basingstoke, Macmillan.Google Scholar
  9. Carmel H. and Hunter M. (1989) Staff injuries from inpatient violence, Hospital and Community Psychiatry, 40(1): 41–6.Google Scholar
  10. Castledine G. (1993) Violent attacks: nurses at risk, British Journal of Nursing, 2(3): 187–8.Google Scholar
  11. Cembrowicz S.P. and Shepherd J.P. (1992) Violence in the accident and emergency department, Medicine, Science and the Law, 32: 118–22.Google Scholar
  12. Chappell A.L. (1992) Towards a sociological critique of the normalisation principle, Disability, Handicap and Society, 7(1): 35–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Craig T.J. (1982) An epidemiological study of problems associated with violence among pscyhiatric inpatients, American Journal of Psychiatry, 139: 1262–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Davies W. (1988) How not to get hit, Psychologist, May: 175–6.Google Scholar
  15. Department of Health (1990) National Health Service and Community Care Act, London, DoH.Google Scholar
  16. Department of Health and Social Security (1983) Mental Health Act, London, HMSO.Google Scholar
  17. Dobash E.R. and Dobash R. (1979) Women, Violence and Social Change, London, Routledge.Google Scholar
  18. Durand V.M. and Crimmins D.B. (1991) Teaching functionally equivalent responses as an intervention for challenging behaviour. In Remmington B. (ed.) The Challenge of Severe Mental Handicap: A Behaviour Analytic Approach, Chichester, John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  19. Emerson E. and Hatton C. (1994) Moving Out, London, HMSO.Google Scholar
  20. Eyman R. and Call T. (1977) Maladaptive behaviour and community placement of mentally retarded persons, American Journal of Mental Deficiency, 82:137–44.Google Scholar
  21. Gertz B. (1980) Training for prevention of assaultive behaviour in a psychiatric setting, Hospital and Community Psychiatry, 31: 628–30.Google Scholar
  22. Goffman E. (1961) Asylums: Essays on the Social Situation of Mental Patients and Other Inmates, New York, Doubleday.Google Scholar
  23. Hafner H. and Boker W. (1982) Crimes of Violence by Mentally Abnormal Offenders, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Haller R.M. and Deluty R.H. (1988) Assaults on staff by psychiatric inpatients, British Journal of Psychiatry, 152: 174–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Harris P. (1993) The nature and extent of aggressive behaviour amongst people with learning difficulties (mental handicap) in a single health district, Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 37: 221–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hastings R.P., Remmington B. and Hopper G.M. (1995) Experienced and inexperienced health care workers’ beliefs about challenging behaviours, Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 39(6): 474–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Health Services Advisory Committee (1987) Violence to Staff in the Health Services, London, HMSO.Google Scholar
  28. Hewitt S. (1987) The abuse of deinstitutionalised persons with mental handicaps, Disability, Handicap and Society, 2: 127–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hobbs F.D.R. (1991) Violence in general practice: a survey of general practitioners’ views, British Medical Journal, 302: 329–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Infantino J. and Musingo S.Y. (1985) Assaults and injuries among staff with and without training in aggression control techniques, Journal of Hospital and Community Psychiatry, 32: 497–8.Google Scholar
  31. Jacobsen J.W. (1982) Problem behaviour and psychiatric impairment within a developmentally disabled population, 1: behaviour frequency, Applied Research in Mental Retardation, 3: 121–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Jones R.S.P. and Earys C.B. (1993) Challenging behaviour and intellectual disability: an overview. In Jones R.S.P. and Earys C.B. (eds) Challenging Behaviour and Intellectual Disability: A Psychological Perspective, Clevedon, BILD.Google Scholar
  33. King R.D., Raynes N.V. and Tizard J. (1971) Patterns of Residential Care: Sociological Studies in Institutions for Handicapped Children, London, Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  34. Kinsella P. (1993) Group Homes: An Ordinary Life? Manchester, National Development Team.Google Scholar
  35. Lanza M.L. (1983) The reactions of nursing staff to physical assault by a patient, Hospital and Community Psychiatry, 34(1): 44–7.Google Scholar
  36. Lion J.R., Snyder W. and Merrill G.L. (1981) Underreporting of assaults on staff in a state hopsital, Hospital and Community Psychiatry, 32: 497–8.Google Scholar
  37. Lipscombe J.A. and Love C.C. (1992) Violence to health care workers: an emerging problem, American Association of Occupational Health Nursing, 40(5): 219–28.Google Scholar
  38. MacDonnell A. and Sturmey P. (1993) Managing violent and aggressive behaviour: towards better practice. In Jones R.S.P. and Earys C.B. (eds) Challenging Behaviour and Intellectual Disability: A Psychological Perspective, Clevedon, BILD.Google Scholar
  39. McRobbie A. and Thornton T. (1995) Rethinking moral panic for multi-mediated social worlds, British Journal of Sociology, 46(4): 559–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Marshall S. and Turnbull J. (eds) (1996) Cognitive Behaviour Therapy: An Introduction to Theory and Practice, London, Baillière Tindall.Google Scholar
  41. Martin J.P (1984) Hospitals in Trouble, Oxford, Blackwell Scientific.Google Scholar
  42. Millham S., Bullock R. and Hosie K.M. (1976) On violence in community houses. In Tutt N. (ed.) Violence, London, HMSO.Google Scholar
  43. National and Local Government Officers Association (1983) Survey and Report on Violence to Members, London, NALGO.Google Scholar
  44. Nihira L. and Nihira K. (1975) Jeopardy in community placement, American Journal of Mental Deficiency, 79: 538–44.Google Scholar
  45. Norris D. (1990) Violence Against Social Workers. The Implications for Practice, London, Jessica Kingsley.Google Scholar
  46. Paterson B., Turnbull J. and Aitken I. (1992) Evaluation of a short course in the management of violence, Nurse Education Today 12: 368–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Rogers R., Salvage J. and Cowell R. (1999) Violence in the Workplace: Nurses at Risk, 2nd edn, Basingstoke, Macmillan.Google Scholar
  48. Rosenthal T.L., Edwards N.B., Rosenthal R.H. and Ackerman B.J. (1992) Hospital violence: site, severity and nurse’s preventative training, Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 13(4): 349–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Rowett C. (1986) Violence in Social Work: A Research Study of Violence in the Context of Local Authority Social Work, Occasional Paper No. 14, Cambridge, University of Cambridge Institute of Criminology.Google Scholar
  50. Royal College of Nursing (1994) Violence and Community Nursing Staff, London, RCN.Google Scholar
  51. Ryan J. and Postner C. (1993) Results of a survey into violence in nursing, Nursing Times, 91(50): 57–61.Google Scholar
  52. Ryan J. and Thomas F. (1980) The Politics of Mental Handicap, London, Penguin.Google Scholar
  53. Satyamurti C. (1981) Occupational Survival, Oxford, Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  54. Seligman M.E.P. (1975) Helplessness: On Depression, Development and Death, San Francisco, Freeman.Google Scholar
  55. Simons K. (1997) Residential care or housing and support?, British Journal of Learning Disabilities, 25: 2–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Sines D. (1994) The arrogance of power: a reflection on contemporary mental health nursing practice, Journal of Advanced Nursing, 20: 894–903.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Slama K.M. and Bannerman D.J. (1983) Implementing and maintaining a behavioural treatment system in an institutional setting, Analysis and Intervention in Developmental Disabilities, 3: 171–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Tardiff K. and Sweillam A. (1980) Assault, suicide and mental illness, Archives of General Psychiatry, 37: 164–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Volavka J., Mohammed Y., Vitrai J., Connolly M., Stefanovic M. and Ford M. (1995) Characteristics of state hospital patients arrested for offences committed during hospitalisation, Psychiatric Services, 46(8): 796–800.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Whittington R. and Wykes T. (1994) Violence in psychiatric hospitals: are certain staff prone to being assaulted? Journal of Advanced Nursing, 19: 219–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Williams P. (1995) Residential and day services. In Malin N. (ed.) Services for People with Learning Disabilities, London, Routledge.Google Scholar
  62. Yesavage J.A. (1983) Bipolar illness: correlates of dangerous inpatient behaviour, British Journal of Psychiatry, 143: 554–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Zitrin A., Hardesty A.S. and Burdock E.V. (1976) Crime and violence among mental patients, American Journal of Psychiatry, 133: 142–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© John Turnbull 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Turnbull

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations