Since the 1st July 2012, there have been four reports of alleged physical assaults on members of staff of my Department, three by members of the public and one by another staff member. My Department’s Health and Safety Unit has recorded 103 other instances of alleged threats, assaults or abuse of staff members in the last year. The criminal prosecution of assaults is a matter for independent investigation by An Garda Síochána.
My Department takes seriously all events or incidents involving a threat to or an assault on a member of staff. The manager of any staff member involved in such incidents is asked to establish the immediate needs of that staff member having regard to the particular circumstances and situation including determining whether there is physical injury and seeking medical assistance and, in the case of threat or assault, reporting the issue to the Gardaí.
In these events, staff members are supported by local management and regional health and safety management, where appropriate. In addition, the Employee Assistance Service (EAS) is a support service available to all staff of my Department on a confidential basis. In the event of an assault or threat, the EAS would ordinarily be contacted by local management, regional management or Human Resources Division and asked to make contact with the individual(s) directly affected. Typically the Employee Assistance Officer would offer to visit the location and speak with and assure all of the staff concerned. Also, if required, outside counsellors may be engaged to assist the staff member.