Here’s an alarming statistic. More than half of teachers have suffered a violent attack at least once in their careers.
Figures released by the GMB trade union last week saw a 25% increase in violence towards teachers within the past 5 years. The figures revealed that in 2016/17 there was 477 reported attacks on teaching staff. This is significantly up from 385 in 2012/13.
385 of those assaulted were so badly injured that they had to spend more than 7 days recovering. A further 92 of the victims suffered from horrific, permanent injuries including, loss of sight, loss of consciousness and brain damage. More common reported incidents included hair torn out, being kicked, spat at and having chairs thrown at them. As widely reported in the news, there was one teacher who lost their life after being stabbed by a pupil.
Karen Leonard, GMB’s national officer for schools and education described the HSE’s figures as ‘no surprise’. She stated, “These figures back up what our members tell us. School staff experience violence and abuse on a daily basis”.
She also raised the point that staff are not only suffering with the physical injuries from their assaults. The victims have suffered from severe mental strain, resulting in them being scared to go to work. More and more teaching staff are becoming aware of this rising issue, resulting in anxiety and stress among those working in the industry.
How can violence in schools be prevented?
Training: Provide all teaching staff with adequate training which is performed on a regular basis. This should include practice in dealing with difficult situations and conflict resolution.
Report every incident: Ensure all incidents, no matter how serious are reported so they are dealt with in the correct way.
Implementing a secure system: Why not go the extra mile and implement a lone worker safety service within your organisation? Keeping staff safe is hugely important, no matter what the industry or job role they perform. Adopting a lone worker solution not only provides you with duty of care to employees, it provides staff with peace of mind that if they were to find themselves in a difficult situation whilst alone, they have a form of backup.
Guardian24’s service offers 24/7 support. Its innovative technology allows for employees to get help to their exact location with just a click of a button. Once an alarm is raised, Controllers in Guardian24’s very own Alarm Receiving Centre are able to listen in, with the devices two-way audio functionality. After silently analysing the situation, the Controllers will take the action required by following bespoke escalating procedures. Guardian24 are here for lone workers no matter what the situation.
If a teacher was to find themselves in a difficult situation whilst alone, the Controller will have the ability to hear any verbal threats made. This could be used for evidence alongside giving the Controller a signal to summon help fast.