As an organisation that believes strongly in supporting its workforce, Interchange Outer East is proud to share WorkSafe Victoria’s current campaign which highlights the situation faced daily by many healthcare workers. Violence and aggression are never OK in any circumstance and toward any person.

Up to 95% of our healthcare workers have experienced verbal or physical assault

Belittling comments, rolling your eyes, or raising your voice at a healthcare worker – all behaviours you might have engaged in without even realising, while under stress.

But, did you know this is considered occupational violence and aggression (OVA)? This behaviour is never OK.

Healthcare workers support us, and the ones we love, often when we are most vulnerable. Unfortunately, these vital members of our community are regularly confronted with violence and aggression – from patients, residents, visiting family, friends and even bystanders. This unacceptable behaviour can have significant ongoing effects on the physical and mental wellbeing of our healthcare workers.

The people who are behaving this way are not just those under the influence of alcohol and drugs, or those who do not have capacity of mind. They’re often everyday people who find themselves in a stressful situation, and lash out without thinking.

No matter the situation, aggression and violence against healthcare workers is never OK.

What can occupational violence and aggression look like?

OVA comes in many forms. Some examples include, but are not limited to:
• aggressive gestures or expressions, such as eye rolling and sneering
• verbal abuse, such as yelling, swearing and name calling
• intimidating physical behaviour, such as standing in a healthcare worker’s personal space or standing over them
• physical assault, such as biting, spitting, scratching, pushing, shoving, tripping and grabbing
• extreme acts of violence and aggression, such as hitting, punching, strangulation, kicking, personal threats, threats with weapons, sexual assault.

Everyone has the right to a safe workplace, and none of these acts are acceptable.

We must work together to ‘Recognise. Report. Prevent’.
Recognise – be aware of what constitutes problematic behaviour. Recognise it within yourself and in those around you.
Report – if you witness or experience violent or aggressive behaviour, do not get involved. Report it immediately to someone at the healthcare facility, or to the police.
Prevent – recognise unacceptable behaviour and unreasonable reactions in yourself. Notice your triggers and take time out before things escalate. If you’re in management at a healthcare service, ensure you implement controls to eliminate or reduce the risks of these incidents, encourage your workers to report them, and act on issues and opportunities.
If you or anyone you know needs help, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Further information is available on our website at