Violence, verbal abuse and an large increase in child aggression – what York council staff are facing

City of York Council West Offices. Photograph: YorkMix

Violent aggression towards council staff is on the increase – and in one incident a number of employees were injured during an assault at a care facility.

A City of York Council report into health and safety reveals that reports of verbal abuse and violence towards staff are steadily rising.

And there are also a large number of reports of children being aggressive.

The report says:

  • Verbal and violent aggression still continues to be a major cause of incidents reported and these are steadily increasing.

    This may, in part, be due to better reporting as the council have tried a number of ways to raise the profile of this issue.

    However it may also due to the challenging environments in which colleagues work. In one instant at an adult care facility a number of staff were injured during an assault.

Complex causes

The number of incidents involving child aggression “is also one of the largest causes of incident reported,” the report goes on

“The causes of this are complex and consequently further work is ongoing to understand these in order to implement possible solutions which are challenging.”

It adds that the number of serious incidents – those that must be reported to the Health and Safety Executive by law – increased to 34 last year from 12 the previous year.


But the cause for the increase could be down to better reporting and monitoring. An improved reporting system to help prevent future accidents is set to be rolled out in October.

The council’s health and safety advisor Lisa Burton said at the meeting: “We are looking at how we can reduce injuries and raise health and safety culture across the local authority.”