Violence includes verbal and emotional threats, sexual harassment, stalking, physical attacks, and property damage. It can involve clients, co-workers or managers.
Employers, owners and managers are responsible for managing potentially abusive, violent or intimidating situations in their workplaces whatever the source. To minimise the risk of violence, ask your workers which clients, work areas, activities and situations might contribute to the likelihood of violence – then develop strategies to control the risks. Security systems, such as easily accessible panic buttons and client screening are strategies to consider.
- Establish and enforce a restrictive admission and access policy for clients who appear to be intoxicated by alcohol or other drugs, verbally threatening or abusive, or physically threatening.
- Enforce a strict policy of removing and not readmitting clients who are behaving unacceptably, for example clients who are verbally or physically threatening or abusive.
- Provide appropriate training and procedures for workers on taking bookings, staffing phones and reception areas, cash handling and isolated work.
- Acknowledge that workers have the right to refuse particular clients on the basis of prior violent, abusive or threatening behaviour by that client.
- Ensure suitable systems are in place for sex workers who work alone or remotely (eg physical barriers, duress alarms, electronic surveillance and appropriate communication protocols).
- Where security staff are used, they need to be suitably licensed and their employer needs to be an approved security industry organisation.
- Ensure workers who have experienced a violent or abusive work situation receive any medical treatment and counselling services they require.
Refer to our violence in the workplace page for more information. SWOP can provide advice on any contact you or the worker may consider having with police.