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17/18 February 2009
BLUEPRINT TO COMBAT ABUSE OF SOCIAL WORKERS AND CARERS
“I get daily verbal threats over
the phone, I’m threatened with violence, face to face, every 2
weeks. I‘ve had threats made, not just against myself, but to my
family and children, I have had my car vandalised on several
occasions. I have been locked in a house, and had items thrown at me
that have hit me. I’ve even been threatened with needles. All from
parents and children who I am working to help.” A
social worker, and UNISON member, working in England.
UNISON, the UK’s leading public sector union, today warned that
violence and abuse against social workers and people working in
social care, has reached‘chronic’ levels, with attacks and
abuse becoming a regular occurrence. The union has launched a
ten-point blueprint aimed at combating the abuse and attacks.
Helga Pile, UNISON national officer for social care, said:-
“Sadly, being a social worker, or working in social care has become
a high risk job. It cannot be right that staff who are working hard,
often under difficult circumstances, to keep children and vulnerable
adults safe, are coming under regular attacks and abuse. Threats and assaults lead to stress, ill-health, sickness absence,
and high staff turnover. With serious skills shortages already
hitting many social work departments, it makes sense to tackle this
problem head-on. Social workers and social care workers need
to see action from the Government, to prove that keeping them safe
is a priority. A vital first step is setting up a national register
of attacks, so that incidents can be monitored and analysed.”
UNISON’s blueprint to combat abuse in social work and social care,
is calling for:-
1. ADDITIONAL FUNDING FROM CENTRAL GOVERNMENT EQUIVALENT TO THE
PROGRAMME FOR NHS WORKERS to invest in measures to protect
staff, and provide safety equipment such as personal alarms.
2. RISK ASSESSMENT AND PREVENTION STRATEGIES: this should
include more thorough risk assessments, and well-developed
prevention strategies, such as redeployment of workers whilst
incidents are investigated, and training. Staff should not have to
use their own car for high-risk visits – number plates make it easy
to trace people.
3. REPORT, RECORD, RESPOND, REVIEW: of all incidents and
4. IMPROVEMENTS IN THE WAY INCIDENTS ARE DEALT WITH LOCALLY
so that staff have good support after incidents, to build staff
confidence to report incidents.
5. A NATIONAL SYSTEM OF MONITORING OF VIOLENT INCIDENTS for
all local government staff, with national guidance on reporting
categories, to enable trends to be identified and action triggered.
6. EASY ACCESS TO POST-INCIDENT SUPPORT AND COUNSELLING FOR
AFFECTED STAFF, based on need, not rationed to sessions,
possible redeployment, compensation for damaged property and
7. INCREASED INSPECTIONS BY THE ENFORCING AUTHORITIES to make
sure employers are taking enough action to tackle the problem.
8. IMPROVEMENTS TO MANAGEMENT OF LONE WORKING should include
stopping lone working on risky visits.
9. CLOSER RELATIONS BETWEEN POLICE /CPS AND EMPLOYERS,
including local memoranda of understanding for how incidents against
staff will be handled.
10. BETTER PROTOCOLS IN MENTAL HEALTH BETWEEN EMPLOYERS, POLICE
AND AMBULANCE SERVICES to ensure adequate back-up and support
for social workers who have to manage the compulsory admission to
hospital of mental health patients.
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Local World Cup teaching initiative kicks off at JLA
A set of
teaching and learning materials for Key Stage 3 students based on
the theme of the 2010 World Cup has been launched at Liverpool John
Lennon Airport (JLA). This football themed initiative is the
brainchild of former Merseyside Teacher Phil Freeman who believes
the excitement that surrounds this year’s World Cup will create
ideal learning opportunities for pupils.
6 books and interactive CDs have recently been published by
Yorkshire based Cable Educational, each covering different areas of
the curriculum including, English, Maths, Science, Food Technology,
Geography and Performing Arts. The hope is that schools will use the
materials as part of an end-of-term cross-curricular project during
the tournament in June and July.
To celebrate the launch, students from nearby St Benedict’s College
in Garston who have been piloting the initiative, attended the
Airport to display some of their work, and give a short performance
of music and dance from the specially written one-act musical,
‘Own Goal’ which tells the story of a young South African
footballer, which is included in the Performing Arts pack.
Attendees to the launch were also able to sample African recipes
taken from the Food Technology book, supplied by Jabula, a South
African restaurant in Ellesmere Port – including crocodile.
As part of its Corporate Social Responsibility commitment, Liverpool
John Lennon Airport works with local schools in a number of ways and
was delighted to assist by hosting this event, particularly with
links to South Africa now available from the Airport with KLM via
Phil Freeman commented:- “The World Cup is always of interest
to a diverse cross section of pupils and offers a unique opportunity
to link so many aspects of education with a global sporting event.
As a former teacher I know how it can be difficult to motivate
students towards the end of the Summer term, but these packs will
give teachers and pupils something different to work on.”
Robin Tudor, Head of PR for Peel Airports added:- “South
Africa and this year’s World Cup is of course a destination now
served from the Airport so we liked the opportunity to help by
hosting this launch here. This is a great initiative that looks like
a fun way to learn and is bound to be a hit in such a football mad
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