Social workers carrying out home visits are most at risk from
serious violence, and should be protected by ‘guardian angels’
according to Unison.
Jim Devine, Unison’s Scottish organiser, has called for
the extension of a successful guardian angel scheme currently being
piloted at St John’s Hospital, West Lothian.
The scheme involves the visiting worker paging the address of
their visit and likely duration to the switchboard. If they then
fail to contact the switchboard at the end of the time an alarm
system automatically kicks including the capacity to listen to 45
seconds of conversation between the worker and the member of the
The pilot has been in operation for many months, and staff claim
it to be a great success. Devine said: “It adds to the security
when visiting clients in their homes when, in some cases, no
previous information on the individual’s background is
Unison has called on the Scottish executive to introduce the
scheme to statutory and voluntary social workers as well as other
local authority and health staff throughout the country.