North Bay, ON – How violence affected Ontario hospital staff assaulted at work physically, psychologically, interpersonally and financially is the focus of a new study – ‘Assaulted and Unheard: Violence Against Healthcare Staff’ – being released Monday, December 4, 2017, 1:30 p.m., at the CUPE North Bay Area Office, 120 Lakeshore Drive, North Bay.

The study, authored by Canadian researchers Dr. Jim Brophy and Dr. Margaret Keith affiliated with the University of Windsor and the University of Stirling in the United Kingdom, and Michael Hurley, president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU), is featured in a recent edition of ‘NEW SOLUTIONS: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy.’

“Our study looks beyond the numbers to better understand this experience as well as give voice to the health care providers who currently are afraid to speak publicly about this disturbing situation,” explain the researchers.

In extended focus group conversations with staff who experienced violence, they also looked at the availability and impact of post-incident psychological and financial support, under-reporting, threat of reprisal and normalization of violence.

Interviews were conducted with 54 health care staff employed in either acute care hospitals, long-term care, forensic or detoxification centres and had experience in a range of departments. Of the 54 participants, 23 worked in forensic, psychiatric, emergency or dementia care units and those employees said violent incidents occurred regularly, in some cases “everyday.”

Provincial polling of 2,000 Ontario hospital staff released earlier this November found that 68 per cent direct care staff, such as personal support workers and nurses, experienced at least one incident of workplace-related physical violence.

With its focus on personal experiences of assaulted staff, the study suggests that violence against health care staff is not merely an individual episodic problem, but a structural and strategic issue rooted in wider social, economic, organizational and cultural factors.


For more information, please contact:

Jim Brophy/Margaret Keith     Researchers, University of Stirling                          519-735-2944

Michael Hurley                        President, Ontario Council of Hospital Unions        416-884-0770

Stella Yeadon                         CUPE Communications                                          416-559-9300