Preventing and managing abuse in social care

Supporting social care employers to prevent and manage abuse and violence toward staff

This research looks at how to support social care employers to prevent and manage abuse towards staff.

Key findings

Responses from frontline workers revealed that abuse and violence mainly comes from people who need care and support. Nearly one-in-five incidents are attributed to family and friends, and one-in-twenty from other staff members.

The final report encourages employers to:

  • have clear systems for reporting and recording incidents that are well publicised and monitored
  • offer practical help when an incident occurs - from time out or a break to recover, to counselling and further training
  • develop and implement policies on abuse and violence at work
  • offer structured and sustained learning and development programmes – especially for those working with people with autism, dementia and a learning disability
  • provide effective management support and supervision.

Focus on personal assistants (PA's)

We also did some research specifically on abuse and violence towards personal assistants (PAs).

Key findings

  • Although most PAs don’t experience violence at work, it does happen to some. A majority of PAs have experienced abuse – mainly verbal abuse. 
  • The perceived potential risk of violence is a concern for PAs but verbal abuse is more of a concern for PAs than other forms of abuse or violence.
  • PAs face unique risks and challenges associated with their isolation and vulnerability, working often in people’s own homes (not unlike the risks and challenges faced by their employers).  
  • Support in all its forms: training, supervision, mentoring, counselling and peer support are not available to many PAs. 
  • A number of PAs reported problems linked to the lack of information available about a potential employer to make a proper assessment of risk, and the lack of any mechanism for reporting or recording problems.

The results indicate the need for further work to look at existing models of practice and what support might be needed by PAs and their employers to prevent and manage abuse or violence.

Download the full report.

Practical resources

We have a range of practical tools to help reduce the number of incidents of violence and abuse in the workplace.