Violence is defined by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as an incident in which an individual is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances relating to their work.

This definition includes verbal as well as physical abuse and could arguably also include psychological manipulation (mental abuse). Incidents involving verbal abuse are the most common.

As well as physical harm from assault, repeated verbal abuse can lead to stress, depression, reduced morale and increased sickness absence.

As for any other health and safety issue, employers must identify where there may be a potential problem, assess the risk and take steps to manage violence in the workplace.

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