Eight Council Workers Attacked Every Week In Wales
Every week eight council employees in Cardiff are physically or verbally attacked, it has been revealed. And more than a quarter of the 412 incidents last year involved attacks on staff at city schools, according to figures released to the Echo under the Freedom of Information Act.
Other staff attacked included social workers, parks and leisure employees, refuse workers and others.
A total of 222 were verbal attacks and 190 were physical.
The largest number of attacks were in schools – particularly on staff at Ty Gwyn School in Penylan, which teaches children with severe or profound learning difficulties, where there were 35 reports of physical assaults.
There were also 10 attacks at both Cantonian High School and Llanedeyrn High School.
A spokesman for Unison, which is the biggest union at Cardiff County Hall, said: ‘Unfortunately, attacks on council staff will always happen and we find that there is a negative perception among some people towards public service workers.
‘There was also a view in the past that staff sat around twiddling their thumbs but that certainly doesn’t happen now.
‘Council workers are trying to do their job to the best of their ability in difficult circumstances.
‘Some members of the public think they can treat council employees in any way they want.’
As well as the 104 attacks on schools staff, there were 101 attacks on culture, leisure and parks workers, 75 attacks on adult services social workers and 63 attacks on children’s service social workers.
Christina Lloyd, Cardiff council’s operational manager for health and safety, said: ‘Violence of any form is not acceptable. We cannot eliminate it but we do all we can to reduce it.
‘The only way that council staff do not suffer any violence is if they don’t deal with the public and you can’t have council staff not dealing with the public.
‘We have 18,500 employees so the number of incidents is not particularly high, but one is too many.’
The council provides guidelines for staff to reduce the risk of violence, confidential counselling services and some staff have received treatment for severe stress, often the victims of verbal assaults.
Asked what appeal she would make to the public, Ms Lloyd said: ‘Council employees are trying to do their job to the best of their ability. People should think first because their actions may well mean an employee is unable to work again.’