Violence at Work (UK)

Avoiding "Triggers"

Certain kinds of behaviour can " Trigger" assaults.

This is especially true where the behaviour causes the other person to feel:

  • they are being ignored, made fun of, publicly humiliated, treated in a disrespectful or condescending manner

  • that they have been singled out, wrongly accused, victimised or bullied - racial/ethnic prejudices

  • they are being unnecessarily 'ordered or bossed about'

  • distressed about the withdrawal of, or being deprived of, a service or facility they feel is essential to which they feel entitled

  • frustrated, angry, upset and emotional through grief, anxiety,waiting for a service/appointment and being treated with indifference - to a point where 'words fail them' and they cease to be able to express themselves clearly, or to fully understand what is being said to them

  • dissatisfied with a service that has been provided, and are being 'fobbed off' or jolleyed along' by insensitive, disinterested staff

If someone is already wound up

  • Don't make sustained eye to eye contact. (It is a very aggressive signal in confrontations)

  • Don't corner them / block their escape route

  • Don't approach too close

  • Don't get drawn into arguments (do you want some then?)

  • Don't talk over or talk down to them ( Avoid saying "You're being stupid, Don't be silly, etc"

  • Don't give the impression that you are not bothered about what they have to say (Avoid saying "I don't care ...")

  • Don't be over apologetic

  • Don't be sarcastic

  • Don't use any sudden, quick movements

  • Don't point/wag your finger at them

  • Don't criticise the person (remember its their behaviour that is at fault.)

  • Don't shake your head (i.e. expressing "NO YOU'RE WRONG") while the other person is explaining.

  • Don't sigh and roll your eyes upwards and look away!

  • Don't allow your attention to be distracted away for a second!

Avoiding these "Trigger" behaviours can help to prevent situations deteriorating into physical violence.