The British Crime Survey (BCS) sweeps for 1991, 1993, 1995, and 1997 showed how risk of victimization by violence in the workplace varied across different occupational groups, identified those most at risk of violence while working, and shed light on the nature of violence at work.
The 1998 BCS estimated just over 1.2 million incidents of violence at work in England and Wales in 1997. This figure included 523,000 physical assaults and 703,000 threats perpetrated against someone while they were working. An estimated 649,000 workers in England and Wales experienced at least one violent incident while working in 1997, with 275,000 workers assaulted and 395,000 threatened. The number of incidents of violence at work increased significantly between 1991 and 1995 but then fell between 1995 and 1997, and this pattern held for both assaults and threats. The risk of violence at work varied considerably for workers with different occupational characteristics. Police officers were most at risk, followed by social workers, probation officers, bar staff, and security guards. Other groups at risk included nurses and other health care professionals, transport workers, community and youth workers, retail sales managers, and national and local government administrators. Almost half of assaults at work and one-third of threats happened after 6 p.m. About 16 percent of physical assaults involved offenders under 16 years of age. Victims of violence at work had a high risk of repeat victimization, 46 percent of assaults resulted in some type of injury to the victim, and almost 75 percent of victims said they had been emotionally affected by a violent incident. The 1998 BCS estimated 3.3 million work hours were lost due to violence at work in 1997, and about 55 percent of assaults and 37 percent of threats at work were reported to the police. Additional information on the survey is presented in six appendixes. References, tables, and figures
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