The 4 groups of people to watch in Preventing Violence
Written by Robert D. Sollars
It can happen to anyone…anywhere…at any time…for any reason
The first and most vital step in preventing workplace Violence (WPV/SV), next to the warning signs, is to know where the greatest threat comes from. Do you know it? This is another point of emphasis about WPV where ignorance is not bliss, but a, potentially deadly, disadvantage
There are four groups of people whom it mainly originates from that you must know in order to properly start planning to prevent it;
- Violence as a result of another crime
Roughly 79% – 85% of all WPVs fall into this category. And it really depends on where you get your statistics from as to which number is correct. And only the security professional, or a consultant, within your organization, can help to prevent these kinds of incidents such as injurious or fatal robberies and etc.
- Current or ex-employees
The most commonly reported kind of WPV by the media is the employee, or ex, doing harm within the business. Usually, the violence is caused by the perception of wrongdoing by…someone. And keep in mind whatever they perceive is going to be their reality, it doesn’t matter what the real situation is…or was.
Two things that will help your HR department and management avoid any wrongful disciplinary action or dismissal litigation are training your people on recognizing the warning signs and the most effective & efficient ways of confronting them. Experts within the community, non-profit organizations, or consultants can come in and train them.
Another aspect of employees committing violence on-site is the growing concern about suicide within the business. In 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics listed more than 260 suicides on business properties, which also includes schools. Employees, or ex, or even others, come back into the building for innumerable reasons to commit suicide…providing as much trauma as a regular murderous rage would.
Now that the pandemic has ended, according to the government, those rates are higher than in 2016 by several hundred. Not a pretty picture for any security, human resources, or managerial personnel…is it?
- Significant others/Intimate Partners/domestic violence (DV)
While this is one that isn’t as well-known and carefully avoided by the media, unfortunately – but then again isn’t DV usually avoided by the media and those touchy-feely types? -it is getting more attention. 43% of incidents begin as DV. It doesn’t only relate to physical violence but can also be mental stress, and emotional abuse.
Usually the significant other becomes so enraged over their spouse having a perceived affair or them working outside the house or some other perceived, see how that word keeps creeping into the equation, the problem that is magnified or has no basis They can become so enraged, at the perception, that They will come to the workplace to physically or verbally abuse their spouse. Even to the point of bringing a weapon and killing their spouse and anyone else that attempts to shield the victim.
The victim in these cases may have been advised by friends, coworkers, or human resources that they need to get out of their abusive relationship/situation, and referred to a shelter, or employee assistance program. The abusive spouse then feels threatened that these people are trying to take their property away from them. While that term may be offensive to many, it is the way most perpetrators of DV/WPV/SV feel and believe. And you can’t adequately protect if you don’t see the whole picture. It can also result from bitter divorces involving child custody.
What can be done to prevent DV from spilling over into your workplace? A lot of this depends on ensuring your policies & procedures are regularly updated, a review at least once a year preferably more often, and that the employees trust their management to talk to them. If an employee doesn’t trust management… If they confide in their supervisor that they are afraid of their significant other possibly coming to the job site it is their responsibility to inform managers or security. If they do come to the worksite then call security or the police immediately.
In October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month there will be a whole month of blogs posted on this subject.
Yet another group that is not often found in the media. But why would a customer turn to violence against you? Generally, it is for some of the same reasons an employee or current employee turns to violence. They perceive, there’s that word again, they receive, true or not, disparate treatment and the company is treating them shabbily.
All disgruntled individuals who come back into your business need to be treated differently even as far as outside the normal policies & procedures. The customer who comes into your business in a rage, yelling and screaming, demanding their money back or to see the manager is completely different than the one who comes back politely and requests the same thing; therefore, it is preferable the dissatisfied customer is dealt with away from others.
Your entire company needs to know the value and power of documentation. It is one of those vitally necessary things to prove in a court of law that you followed every possible recourse and that the employee, or other perpetrators, was destined for termination or arrest. All the fights, arguments, and etc. must be documented every…single…time, including derogatory comments, swearing, & otherwise distasteful words. And these words MUST be spelled out in full to prevent any attorney from saying you didn’t get it right with the ***.
Are these the only people that are a potential threat to you and the company? Of course not. There are numerous others, and a knowledgeable person can point them out. But no matter what you do you must TRAIN, TRAIN, TRAIN your employees, supervisors, managers, human resources, security (including officers), & C-suite on these, including all departments within the organization.
“If you don’t ride the waves of change, you’ll find yourself beneath them”
I have more than 40 years in the security field & more than 30 working in workplace & school violence prevention. Contact me at; Sollars Violence Prevention Training & Consulting. You can also write me at firstname.lastname@example.org for the fastest service call 480-2551-5197 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