According to the Emergency Nurses Association, healthcare workers account for approximately 50% of all victims of workplace violence.
Doctors are attacked as well, but according to statistics from the Emergency Nurses Association, not as often as nurses, likely because they often spend less time interacting with patients. Among emergency doctors, 47% reported having been physically assaulted on the job, compared to 70% of emergency nurses.
In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, fewer people were visiting ERs, which led to a drop in violent incidents. But that has changed as emergency rooms and hospitals began filling up again. National Nurses United surveyed 15,000 registered nurses across the U.S. and found that 20% reported increased workplace violence, in November 2020.
The Joint Commission, an organization that accredits U.S. healthcare companies, workers within a healthcare setting are four times more likely to be assaulted than workers in private industry. But, unfortunately, they’re not the only workers suffering from an increase in violence.
There are reports of increased domestic violence around the world as a result of lockdowns from the pandemic. In addition, the stress and anxieties spurred by the coronavirus pandemic and shut downs have also walked in hand with more frontline workers, fast-food and restaurant workers, and more, seeing an increase in violent behavior toward themselves and others. A study conducted by Howard University estimates that social distancing measures increased domestic violence by roughly 6%, or more than 24,000 cases, during the first few weeks of the pandemic last year.
Office workers have also been subject to COVID-19-related workplace violence. According to HR Daily Advisor, the stress of the pandemic has “raised stressed levels and lowered thresholds for confrontation over previously non-existent issues such as social distancing and hand hygiene.”
While workplace violence is often thought to be far underreported, the discrepancy between reported workplace violence and unreported workplace violence during 2020 and 2021 is expected to worsen when more statistics emerge.