Violence against social workers and other social service practitioners is prevalent across countries and service delivery settings, often accepted as implicit in working with vulnerable clients. A corresponding scholarly focus on workplace violence, and the factors that affect it, is, however, still developing. This is particularly stark in the domestic and family violence (DFV) and sexual assault (SA) sectors. To address this gap, this article explores the extent and impact of practitioners’ exposure to workplace violence, and the mix of work and organisational factors that predict it. Analysis of survey data from Australian DFV and SA practitioners (N = 903) enables a focus on the two main sources of workplace violence: violence from clients and violence from colleagues. Both types of violence were found to be prevalent, gendered and associated with emotional strain and intention to leave. We argue that in DFV and SA sectors, which respond to multiple forms of gendered violence, understanding the multifaceted nature of workplace violence, and the structural arrangements that underpin it, is necessary for planning strategies to prevent and address it.
- client violence
- colleague violence
- domestic and family violence workforce
- occupational violence
- workplace violence