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Violence In The past few years have seen an immense increase in institution. With professionals in the area of mental health, psychologists, clinicians and others being the most affected. This violence has sparked the interest of American Psychological Association (APA), scholars and other interested parties. In fact staff members in the most prone professionals view violence in such areas as an occupational hazard that institutions should equip employees to deal with. Victims also suffer from physical and psychological injuries with some of the injuries being equated to those that strict crime victims suffer from. Due to interests in this area, this paper will determine the precipitating factors such as institutional culpability, staff culpability and legal liability. The paper will also come up with an intervention strategy using Piercy’s nine-stage model of intervention.
One of the major causes of violent behaviors against professionals is substance abuse. This is especially because of the aggressive nature of substance abusers. Another precipitating factor is mental illness and research has found that large numbers of mental cases are violent. Patients with conditions related to mental illness such as dementia, brain diseases and head injuries are also likely to be violent against professionals taking care of them. Patients with personality disorders are also known to be violent because of their anger. Concerned researchers also argue that most convicted criminals fall in the category of mental illness and that most of them lack proper follow up. They are therefore more likely to extend their violence behaviors in hospitals because of this lack of proper follow up.
Deinstitutionalization also increases violence against professionals. In the past, there were restrictive environment that were used in handling violent and mental cases. However, deinstitutionalization has led to different institutions such as daycare centers and other warehousing facilities, which deal with mental cases. Most of these institutions do not have enough staff members and proper follow up care, and this has created room for increased violent by clients against professionals. Gender is also another precipitating factor and this is based on the notion that males are the more aggressive of gender composition. Because of these notions, young males are falling victims of violence by females in relation to equal opportunity violence. This is especially so in locked inpatient units where males are assaulted by females. Another precipitating factor is gangs since most of them do it as a rite of passage or for retaliation reasons. Some of the institutions that suffer from gang violence include juvenile detention institutions and emergency rooms among others.
The number of elderly people, which is rising in different institutions, has also led to increased violence in these institutions. In most cases, this group has been dismissed as incapable in terms of harming others and this is not the case. Different researches have shown that most clients in this group are violent and are likely to be violent against one another and against institutional workers.
This factor also increases violence against professionals since the perception that most people in some human services professions believe that the way they treat other people is the same treatment they will get. Some of them end up concluding that violence against them is impossible and that the violent incidences are too low to get concerned. In such cases, they fail to predict and be ready for the assaults. Sometimes, these staff members act authoritatively against their clients while carrying the same notion and this leads to violent against them when clients try to act against them. In some cases, they fail to act in loving, caring and emphatic ways, which is some of the strategies that can be used in curbing violence. Some also lack the proper experience and this makes them vulnerable to such attacks.
In some cases, the violent behaviors exhibited by clients are all blamed on the institutions and the care givers. Some of these clients argue that the staff member have failed in providing proper duty of care. In fact, there have been some successful lawsuits in these areas that have made institutions be liable for some client behaviors. Because of this, institutions fail to protect their workers from some of these violent behaviors.
Some factors that are institutional related also lead to these problems. In most cases, people looking for money and other things such as drugs look at the institutions and because of these, violent cases are likely to happen in such institutions than others. Other institutions also have very minimal security because outside threat is not anticipated. Most forget that threat can come from the inside and this is what happens in the mental institutions and some hospitals. In addition, the ready accessibility of some institutions makes them more likely to suffer from violent behaviors. This is because the flow of people in and out of some institutions than others. For example, hospitals receive more client overflow than some institutions that only deals with management. Because of this, it is more likely that these institutions will face violence from different clients who seek people to hurt. In some cases, the isolation of some institutions also makes it possible for clients to carry out their behaviors without quick response. This is why some counseling units in universities are more likely to report violence against their workers. Finally on institutional culpability, the avoidance of bad publicity makes some institutions deny the existence of violent individuals and also fails to educate their workers on crime and create this awareness.
As mentioned earlier, violence against professionals causes both physical and emotional injury and some injuries are equal to those that take place in street crimes. Because of this, this type of violence should be dealt with in various ways. One way that this can be done is using the Piercy’s nine-stage model of intervention as follow.
- Education- the first stage of intervention is education. Staff members should be taught about likely violence against them and also be taught on how to take it seriously. They should also be taught on behaviors that should be avoided in order to keep others from behaving violently.
- Conflict Avoidance-employees should also be taught on the advantage of avoiding conflicts in order to avoid violence against them.
- Appeasement-when clients behave violently, employees should be taught on how to plead with them in such cases
- Deflection –in this case, worker should be taught on the necessity of running away from violent individuals.
- Time out-The other stage is the time out stage, which should lead to the next level in order to avoid being hurt.
- Show of Force-When the employee has no choice, he should use force to hinder the client from hurting him/her
- Seclusion-violent individuals who are threat to others should also be secluded.
- Restraint –in this case, violent individuals in the institution setting should be restrained until they are done with their violent behavior.
- Sedation –this should be the last option whereby a client should be sedated because of the possible harm against individuals.