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Work-related violence

Work-related violence is any incident in which a person is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances relating to their work.

Examples of work-related violence include:

  • biting, spitting, scratching, hitting, kicking
  • throwing objects
  • pushing, shoving, tripping, grabbing
  • verbal threats
  • armed robbery
  • sexual assault
  • attacking with knives, guns, clubs, or any type of weapon.

Workers can be exposed to work-related violence from a range of sources.

External violence is usually associated with robbery or other crimes and the perpetrator is someone from outside the workplace. It can happen in any industry but often occurs in retail, hospitality, security, cash-handling, finance and banking industries.

Service-related violence arises when providing services to clients, customers, patients or prisoners. It generally occurs in the health, hospitality, retail, aged care, disability, youth services, education and enforcement industries.

Domestic and family violence (DFV) is an issue that can extend to the workplace and affect a worker’s safety, attendance and performance. A DFV workplace package has been developed to identify, assess and manage workplace risks associated with DFV, and consists of a workplace risk management guide and individual risk assessment and safety plan.

For further information on the prevention and risk management of work-related violence, including how to respond if an incident occurs, please refer to Preventing and responding to work-related violence (PDF, 375.42 KB).

Healthcare and community services

The handbook for the Prevention and management of work-related violence and aggression in health services (PDF, 1588.47 KB) provides a framework to identify, prevent and manage aggression and violence in health industry workplaces. The work-related violence and aggression incident investigation tool (PDF, 240.34 KB) can be used to support a systematic investigation following a violence incident. The Guide to working safely in people’s homes (PDF, 1979.3 KB) also provides practical advice about how to manage workplace health and safety for community workers working in people’s homes.


The client aggression and violence self-assessment tool (PDF, 431.35 KB) covers six elements including:

  • workplace consultation
  • hazard and risk management
  • systems of work
  • worker training
  • reporting, responding to and investigating incidents
  • preparations for an emergency.

This self-assessment tool will assist in reviewing the effectiveness and adequacy of your existing risk management approach for client aggression and violence risks in your workplace. It will help to prompt ideas and opportunities to improve your practices. The self-assessment should be undertaken in consultation with all relevant persons (e.g. drivers, supervisors, work health and safety and human resource personnel).

Last updated
06 July 2020

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