According to new research by the Union of Health and Social Care Professionals in Finland (Tehy), employees in the healthcare and social services industry encounter workplace violence on a regular basis.
As per a survey conducted by Tehy, up to 84 per cent of respondents under the age of 35 (69 per cent of all respondents) reported experiencing or being threatened with physical or verbal abuse, most often from clients or patients, while on the job.
As many as a quarter of caregivers surveyed said they had received death threats. Around 73 per cent had allegedly been beaten up at the workplace, while 59 per cent had been kicked and 56 per cent had been spit on.
Respondents also reported instances of strangulation, scratching and biting, with some even being threatened by guns, blades or other weapons.
Assaults were especially common in the primary healthcare and social services sector, frequently occurring in wards, service housing and old age homes. Early childhood education and counseling employees also reported having experienced or being threatened with violence.
Tehy has described the results of the study as “shocking,” highlighting the alarming frequency of attacks against young employees especially, and has called for more effective policies to monitor and prevent violence against caregivers.
The organisation has pitched a nationwide project aimed at increasing safety in the healthcare and social services industry to multiple ministries.