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46.47 Violence Towards Staff

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Last reviewed in March 2020

Next review March 2023




This section applies to any incident where a member of staff of any safeguarding partnership agency is verbally abused, threatened or assaulted by a service user or member of the public in circumstances relating to her / his employment.



Predisposing indicators include:

  • Previous convictions for violence;
  • History of threats and/or violence towards staff;
  • Disinhibiting effects of alcohol and / or substance misuse;
  • Known violence / domestic abuse.

The risk of violence may increase when:

  • Parents feel threatened, challenged, confronted including the fear of separation from their child(ren) / family e.g. during Section 47 Enquiries, Care Proceedings, divorce proceedings;
  • Parents' experience or perceive a loss of control over events;
  • Parents' own dependency needs are not being met, support withdrawn and / or additional demands placed on them e.g. relaxing of protection plan, new baby.

Violence towards staff is an inter-agency problem. If one agency has information that a parent / carer is known to be violent they have a responsibility to alert other agencies of the risks posed by that person - see Information Sharing and Confidentiality.


Each agency must ensure the health and safety of its own staff and there should be implemented general safe working practice when working in a community setting including:

  • Systems of reporting whereabouts of staff, times of visits and anticipated return;
  • Staff should inform their work base of changes in itinerary;
  • Staff should make contact with the office at the end of the day (if not returning) and, where evening visits are made, arrange to contact their manager or a colleague at the end of a visit;
  • Access to mobile phones assessed as necessary;
  • Standard arrangements to be implemented when staff do not report back as anticipated;
  • Prior to working with a family all available information must be considered and if there are any concerns, these should be discussed with a manager as to whether there should be a formal assessment of risk;
  • Staff regard for any organisational lone worker policy (or equivalent).



The threshold for responding to violence towards staff is not related to the presence or absence of identified Significant Harm indicators in the child. However, the experience of violence or threats to staff should be used as evidence of the situation of the family and included in assessments of the child's circumstances.


Both these factors should be considered at an inter-agency Strategy Discussion that involves the referring agency, Children's Social Care, Safeguarding Investigations Unit, health visitor and school nurse.


The purpose of the meeting is to:

  • Gather information from all agencies including housing, probation, adult mental health services etc;
  • Coordinate care plans for children with personal safety strategies for workers;
  • Consider the need for a Child Protection Conference (including the use of exclusion) and further assessments;
  • Consider legal options, both civil and criminal;
  • Consider future arrangements for working with the family e.g. joint work with colleagues / other agencies, management intervention with service user, withdrawal of home visits, secure interview facilities so as to ensure the professional system does not 'close down' on the family;
  • Agree content of any written agreement with parent(s).



All threats must be documented in the child's file as well as reported in accordance with the internal agency procedures.

De-Brief, Supervision and Support


There should always be a de-brief session following any incidents.


Violence towards staff will have a potentially detrimental effect both personally and professionally, including escalating levels of stress, physical injury / illness, professional judgement and behavioural responses.


Levels of personal and case management supervision should be adjusted to provide organisational support and consultation to staff working in these conditions. Therapeutic services, specialist supervision or training may need to be provided.

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This page is correct as printed on Thursday 30th of June 2022 12:16:14 PM please refer back to this website ( for updates.