Workplace Violence Prevention

Supervisors demonstrate leadership by establishing an environment where people feel comfortable talking openly about the threat or actual occurrences of violence in the workplace.

UW Policies and Procedures

Build a Supportive Environment

  • Reinforce the message that employees will not be penalized or face retaliation for seeking help – for themselves, their families, or co-workers in need.
  • Help employees recognize warning signs of violence and let them know where to get help by:
    • Prominently displaying SafeCampus posters and making printed materials available
    • Linking the SafeCampus web site to your intranet
    • Inviting UW Police, UW Human Resources, UW CareLink or other community resources to present at team meetings
  • Be sensitive to cultural beliefs and values – People from different backgrounds have widely different comfort levels for talking to those outside their community about family or personal difficulties. Respect an employee’s reluctance to talk about personal matters, but do not ignore evidence of possible violence, like frequent injuries and unusual explanations for them. Call 425-352-SAFE (425-352-7233) to discuss your concerns and seek guidance.

Discuss Violence Prevention

  • Develop and implement a workplace safety plan that details how to respond to violence in the workplace. Review the plan with your staff at least yearly. Request that the UWPD conduct a safety assessment and help you develop a safety plan. For Harborview and UW Medical centers, contact your medical centers’ security department.
  • Make time for group discussion whenever campus or workplace violence makes headlines.
  • Discuss how to handle potentially violent situations. Encourage your staff to suggest ways to make the workplace safer or less vulnerable to potential threats (e.g., office arrangement, emergency phones, etc.).

Discuss UW Training Opportunities

  • Consider having SafeCampus provide a Violence Prevention and Response training. In our sessions we ask participants to think about violence prevention in the context of the group’s unique needs to ensure an effective discussion. To arrange training for your department, workgroup, or interest group, send your request to safecampus@uw.edu.
  • Professional and Organizational Development offers many courses on communications, conflict resolution, and other topics that can benefit staff who have exposure to potentially hostile audiences or customers as part of their job.