Many social care support workers who are exposed to threats and attacks receive little support from their bosses, according to Unison’s survey.
The attacks range from verbal abuse to assaults. Nearly 16% of respondents reported being physically attacked and nearly 60% were verbally abused more than once. Many said they had received little or no support from their employer and, in some cases, they were told abuse was just part of the job. “I was recently hit by a service user,” one support worker told Unison. “I wasn’t asked by my manager how I was feeling about this. She even saw the attack.”
Another worker told the union that “it is considered a normal part of the job to be verbally abused” and “on one occasion where I was physically assaulted no investigation took place and nobody even bothered to ask whether I was ok”.
Nearly a quarter of those questioned deemed the attention paid by their employer to the protection of their safety was “poor”.
“Assistants and support workers often have a high level of direct contact work in their job, so they are particularly exposed,” said Helga Pile, Unison’s national officer for social care. “What did concern us was the number of respondents who felt that their employer treated these incidents ‘as part of the job’.”
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