Skip to content

Work-related violence and aggression in the workplace – consequences, frequency and intervention strategies

During Mental Health Week, Dr Allison J Ballard will present an insightful session on work-related violence and aggression and explore the consequences, frequency and intervention strategies.

Frequent exposure to even low levels of work-related violence and aggression (WVR) can have a long-term impact on psychological health. This conduct can also escalate to other forms of aggression and violence such as physical assault. There are other consequences from WVA including economic and social costs to the worker, their family, their organisation and the wider community.

Dr Ballard draws on her experience as a sociolegal academic and lawyer, who has represented both employee and employer in emplacement and workplace relation matters in the Fair Work Commission, the Federal Courts, the NSW Industrial Relations Commission, the ACAT, the AAT, and various anti-discrimination tribunals.

Whilst all workplaces can be impacted by work-related violence and aggression, some of the industries at greater risk of work-related violence and aggression include retail, residential, youth and disability care and construction.

Although all retail workers are at risk of WVA, this can be heightened for new, young workers and women. Claims for WVA in the retail sector have more than doubled in the past five years, predominantly affecting women aged below 34 years, with 54 per cent of lodged claims for anxiety or stress disorder. One in five workers do not return to work in retail post injury.

Residential aged, disability and youth care workers are at risk of WVA directly and as witnesses, particularly from residents with emotional, behavioural and intellectual disorders, or cognitive deterioration.

Claims for WVA in the care sector have doubled in the past five years, with 95 per cent of claimants needing to take at least one day off work and 25 per cent of claimants never returning to work in the sector after injury.