Union calls for people who assault staff to be prosecuted

A top official with Scotland’s largest public sector union
is calling on the Scottish executive to ensure people who
physically abuse public sector workers are automatically charged
and prosecuted.

According to Unison’s Scottish organiser, Jim Devine, social
work and medical staff who provide frontline care are among those
most at risk when dealing with aggression from the public.

Mr Devine believes staff who have to endure violence at work
should be supported by management to pursue aggressors through the

Speaking at a Unison conference in Glasgow, he said hundreds of
workers are being assaulted every year in Scotland yet nobody is
bothering to keep statistics.

“Very few individuals are actually charged with assault. The
Scottish executive does not keep figures relating to the number of
assaults, police interventions and successful prosecutions. In
other words nobody knows what the score is.

“Every day social workers, care assistants, nurses and health
visitors see clients/patients in their homes,” Mr Devine said.

“While the vast majority of these visits pass without incident,
statistics show that verbal and physical abuse directed towards
public sector workers is on the increase.

“The staff most at risk are those who work in the community on
their own. Local authorities, voluntary sector and health board
employers in Scotland, need a common policy for staff in this

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