Do Your Students/Employees need to be trained in how to prevent Violence?

Do Your Students/Employees need to be trained in how to prevent Violence?

Written by Robert D. Sollars

Why do I need to train these students/staff/employees on violence (WPV/SV)? I mean, they don’t need to know all that stuff. it’ll just clog their day. And I don’t think they need to know that nonsense, because they need to do their job & concentrate on making the business successful so they’ll have a job tomorrow/themselves graduate so they can go to college and get a great job contributing to society!”

This is a paraphrased statement that I got from a service business owner when pitching him a workshop. I attempted to inform him of the reason why they needed to know what to look for and how it can affect the business. Unfortunately, not being a salesman…

Too many times, far too many, the reasoning for not conducting training on WPV/SV is financial or “it’ll cause too much trauma for the little darlings”. They’d rather have the little darlings on the 6 O’clock news talking about “I didn’t know this could happen here!”, or them laying on a stretcher blood splattered everywhere on them.

If the training takes place during business hours then it’s lost productivity. If it’s done off hours, they have to be paid so therefore it’s lost money, and anything that interferes with those business aspects…is simply not allowed.

Secondly, it’s the employer’s attitude that I mentioned above. Many companies don’t train their employees on protecting themselves and co-workers, and why you ask? Because they have the most dangerous attitude I’ve talked about before, CHH, Can’t Happen Here.

The key to preventing WPV/SV is training. Your people need to know what to look for and why they need to report those items. Warning signs especially are something to train them on because this is the first step in prevention…anyone, employee, or customer.

By experience & observation, most companies consider any training over and above the orientation session, is useless. In some cases, they may be correct, but not in this one. If you have an incident, do you want to have employees that are informed and know what to do or just run around in sheer panic, like a chicken with its head cut off, making it worse?

Is not re-fresher training on sexual harassment or their benefits necessary? Maybe changes in shift hours or conditions? How about a new machine or product line? You have to spend time training them on these, so violence shouldn’t be any different unless, of course, you don’t care about their health i.e. trauma, injury, death, litigation, or bankruptcy.

The question then arises…what do you train them on? A short list of the items that need to be trained for violence specifically:

  • Where violence occurs. You have to remember it doesn’t just happen at an organization. Sometimes organizational issues follow them home
  • Attitudes that they, and others in the organization, may have that may encourage an incident from customers or co-workers. No one is immune to these attitudes, remember that you can’t allow a CHH attitude.
  • Customer service. Yes, I know you teach this to everyone. But you don’t necessarily teach them how customer service can prevent an incident. Before you can guffaw, it can very easily, especially if it includes de-escalation training.
  • Fight, run, or hide. You’ve seen the video and read the materials. But I think it needs to be taught, including the fighting aspect. Yes, fight. One individual should tuck the customers away in the back, but if the individual is in front of the other one… or the customer is in front of you fight back and distract them…maybe.
  • Situational Awareness. Your people need to have situational awareness, what it is, and how to develop it. Without it, they may be clueless as to what is happening or about to come. And that could prove fatal for someone
  • Evacuation Plans. Your people, students & employees alike, need to know where the exits are, even if the place is filled with smoke. If an (ex) student/employee comes into the organization and creates havoc, they will know every evacuation door. So, your people need to be instructed to think out of the box in these situations. And don’t forget about anyone who may be disabled in the area as well.


Training for an incident of violence should be like all other programs. It needs to be done on a continual and consistent basis. It does no good to train for anything for a few days and then drop it because you don’t have the time, energy, or financial resources. You have to make the time, find the money, and the energy to do it.

How do I answer those who ask me the questions above? In my own blunt and direct manner, I tell them that one such incident can put them out of business because of the cost and that it can happen to anyone (organization), at any time, anywhere, for any reason. While the frequency of fatal WPV may be low, it doesn’t negate the fact that it can literally kill their business and start litigation against them, both personally and financially.

Sollars Violence Prevention Training & Consulting. You can also write me at or for the fastest service call 480-251-5197 24/7/365 because violence and crime don’t take holidays!  

You can check out my books and discover a whole lot more: Murder in the Classroom: A Practical Guide for Prevention or Murder at Work: A Practical Guide for Prevention

Like these blogs? Then please feel free to pass them along, with proper attribution,  to friends, colleagues, or anyone who may benefit, from proper attribution. Have them subscribe at my website: Sollars Violence Prevention Training & Consulting

It happens to Anyone…Any Time…Anywhere… For any Reason

I May Be Blind, but My Vision Is Crystal Clear

Copyright 2023 Robert D. Sollars

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