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Reporting workplace violence, critical incidents and service failures with HACSU

Workplace violence, it’s not part of the job!

As anyone who works in mental health or disability services knows, an unfortunate and regular job experience is being abused or assaulted by someone you support. In the true nature of the selflessness of the workers who undertake these jobs and an outdated notion that this is simply "part of the job", violence, critical incidents and service failures are not recognised or reported. 

The reason to report

The power of reporting may seem insignificant when your face is bruised, or when emotions run high and you have no time. Nevertheless, without reporting these incidents there will be no change. Workplace violence, critical incidents and service failures impact on your, your colleagues and the people you support. Reporting these incidents will contribute to a better working, living and recovery environment for everyone. 

Reporting to HACSU

When you experience violence at work, it must be reported to your employer. Reporting allows for your employer to understand your experience and pressures them to be accountable for their workplace’s safety. Many employers will have processes in place. However, this doesn’t always mean action will take place. In response to this, HACSU has set up the critical incident hotline and online reporting.

Reporting to HACSU allows the union to record data and monitor violence in our workplaces. This is instrumental in campaigning for improved safety in our workplaces.

HACSU has a Critical Incident Hotline on 9340 4132 (9-5pm). You can also fill out the form on this page. Reporting can be very quick and easy, it is not mandatory for you to provide in depth details or even speak to an organiser if you don’t want to. 

What have we achieved previously?

HACSU first began researching violence in Mental Health Services in 2013. The HACSU/University of Melbourne research project covered both the incidence and the impact of assaults in mental health services. The research covered 384 randomly selected participants across all mental health occupations, a spread of ages and including participants in metropolitan, rural and regional Victoria. Read more about this research ! 

The results of this research have attracted widespread media attention and raised community awareness about this critical issue. Since this research, HACSU members have reported hundreds of critical incidents to the union, allowing HACSU to further organise and campaign for safety.

HACSU is looking to conduct similar research in the disability sector very soon. 

Check in with your support networks

Reporting to your employer isn’t going to make the bruise or anxiety go away; you need to take action afterwards to reduce the future risk. Part of this should be contacting EAP (Employee Assistance Program), HACSU encourages member to seek assistance from the EAP of whichever support networks work best for you. Seeking support goes a long way in preventing and psychological issues that may arise down the track.

Sometimes after an incident involving several people, a debrief is necessary. Now, this isn’t going to be the preferred method for everyone. Still, it can help when everybody comes together to discuss their thoughts and feelings on the situation in some circumstances. A debrief should always be conducted respectfully and constructively. It may help to request a group counsellor from your employer.