Industry response

Industry bodies in Australia and overseas have been active in developing standards, policy documents, policy statements and education kits to help workplaces develop and implement workplace violence prevention policies.

Industry bodies can also play an important role in providing services (eg counselling services) to members who are victims of workplace violence, and in providing continuing professional development, which may incorporate education on workplace violence.

Click on the links below for details of some key documents issued, and services provided, by key industry bodies.

The Australian Medical Association

In 2008, the AMA launched an anti-violence kit titled We care for you, you care for us aimed at making medical practices safer for GPs, their staff and patients by effectively managing the risks of workplace violence. This document is available to AMA members through the AMA.

In 2005, the AMA released a position statement titled Personal Safety and Privacy for Doctors which is designed to reduce the vulnerability of doctors to harm. The Statement is framed around a risk management approach which involves risk identification, risk assessment and risk control.

Australian Nursing Federation

In 2008, the ANF adopted a Zero tolerance of violence and aggression in the workplace policy which expressly states violence against nurses is unacceptable and nurses do not have to tolerate it. Similar policies have been adopted by state branches of the ANF.

The ANF, like many other industry bodies, also has a policy on Bullying in the Workplace which outlines what constitutes bullying behaviour, the effects of bullying behaviour, and action employees and employers should take to prevent and respond to bullying behaviour.


CRANAplus operates Bush Support Services, including a 24 hour confidential counselling service available to all remote health care workers and their families. This includes nurses, doctors, allied health professionals, managers and project workers.

National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)

In 2002, the NHMRC released When it’s right in front of you: Assisting healthcare workers to manage the effects of violence in rural and remote Australia, ** a manual designed to assist health professionals in rural and remote Australia to prepare for and respond to violent incidents in a way that minimises their impact. The document includes a number of scenarios involving violence and provides options for how to respond in such scenarios, the barriers to responding, and ways to overcome these barriers.

**This publication has been rescinded.

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP)

The RAGCP released General Practice – A safe place: tips and toolsand an accompanying education manual in March 2009. The document provides GPs with practical strategies to reduce the risk of workplace violence. It is multi-faceted and encompasses strategies at the environment, practice-team and patient level. It also outlines the cycle of aggression, including warning signs of escalating aggression and methods to de-escalate violence.

The RACGP Standards for general practices does not focus strictly on workplace violence, rather it provides general advice on doctor and staff safety, focusing on wellbeing, reducing fatigue, and effectively managing workflow. The Standards note, for example, that GPs can decline to do home visits if they have concerns for their safety.

The RACGP also provides counselling for GPs facing difficulties in their personal or professional lives.

International Labour Organization

In 2001-02, the International Labour Organization, the International Council of Nurses, the World Health Organization and Public Services International joined forces to develop policies and approaches to prevent and eliminate violence in the workplace. The project involved a series of country case studies and drafting of Framework Guidelines for Addressing Workplace Violence in the Health Sector.

Separately, in 2003, the ILO adopted a Code of practice on workplace violence in services sectors and measures to combat this phenomenon.

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