Occupational violence is a serious and prevalent issue, particularly in the healthcare sector. It is a  priority area for state authorities. These research projects investigate this issue, with the objective of helping relevant agencies to prevent and reduce it.

ISCRR first delved into this field by requesting a review of relevant existing literature. This review was led by Associate Professor Debra Griffiths from Monash's School of Nursing and Midwifery.

The aim of this review was to outline the prevalence and distribution of occupational violence across health and social care settings, identify interventions that have previously been effective, and gather evidence to inform better occupational violence monitoring practices.

Following a Victorian Auditor General's Office (VAGO) report in 2015, a new research project was developed. It was led by Associate Professor Griffiths, plus Dr Julia Morphett and Kelli Innes (both also from Monash's School of Nursing and Health Sciences).

This project provided advice and recommendations on data collection to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). A second phase of the project will potentially analyse how Victoria's 128 publicly funded hospitals collect data on occupational violence and make recommendations.

The initial evidence review is complete. It paints a broad picture of occupational violence in healthcare in Victoria and internationally in terms of prevalence, existing interventions, and prevention, surveillance and reporting methods.

Most significantly, the review estimates that only 20% of occupational violence incidents are currently being reported. This occurs for a range of reasons, including lack of co-worker/manager support, lack of management action and the common perception that violence is "just part of the job". Importantly, there is  currently no systematic, comprehensive and user-friendly reporting system for this information.

An additional project is currently being developed, under the leadership of Dr Morphett. This project will evaluate the effectiveness of WorkSafe's current material on occupational violence in healthcare.

A review from the ISCRR Evidence Review Hub investigated the link between patient safety and outcomes (a primary focus of hospital management boards) and OHS interventions targeting hospital staff. This review mainly investigated interventions related to musculoskeletal disorders, but also looked more broadly at safety culture and climate interventions.

The researchers identified a gap in our knowledge on this subject. While there is evidence of patient outcomes being positively affected by interventions targeted at staff musculoskeletal disorders, studies in this area are limited, and most have been undertaken in long-term care or rehabilitation settings which are not relevant to a hospital context. A further full review of the topic is recommended.