Responding to Violence or Potentially Violent Situations

On occasion, any of us may be faced with violence of potentially violent situations. It is important to listen to your instincts, if something doesn’t feel right get support. Below are some best practice suggestions and tips to assist you in responding to various situations.

Communicating with a Potentially Violent Person:

  • Remain calm and use a calm manner.

  • Speak clearly and keep voice neutral or slightly lowered.

  • Keep explanations short and simple.

  • Ask the person questions to learn more.

  • Keep your arms at your sides and make eye contact.

  • Allow 2 to 4 feet of space between you and the person.

  • Be confident.

  • Avoid glaring or staring.

  • Avoid suggesting that the person relax or be calm.

  • Avoid folding your arms.

  • Avoid defying, criticizing, insulting, interrupting or patronizing.

  • Do not fight with the person.

  • If required, back away from the situation and get support from another person or the police.

  • Report the incident using the Violence Reporting Form.

Problem Solving with a Potentially Violent Person:

  • Try to see the situation from the person’s point of view in order to figure out how to fix the problem.

  • Ask the person how to fix the problem.

  • Be positive about criticism. If you agree with it, admit this. If you disagree, try to discuss the situation.

  • Direct the person’s attention to the issue.

  • Divide the problem into smaller chunks and deal with them one at a time.

  • Be clear about inappropriate behaviour/ actions.

  • Avoid taking the situation lightly.

  • Avoid immediately turning down the person’s request.

  • Avoid making unreasonable commitments.

  • If the person is an employee, do not discuss discipline until the situation is more stable.

  • Do not try to negotiate with someone who is making threats. End the conversation calmly and if necessary, get assistance.

  • Report the incident using the Violence Reporting Form.

Ending an Abusive Telephone Call:

  • Interrupt in a courteous but firm tone.

  • Make it clear that abusive behaviour is not acceptable, and that you will end the conversation if they don’t stop.

  • Report the abusive call to the HR Generalist.

  • Halt the call in a courteous but firm tone if the abusive person calls again.

  • Make it clear that abusive behaviour is not acceptable, and that you will forward the call to your Manager if they don’t stop.

  • Put the caller on hold.

  • Report the holding caller to the HR Generalist and forward the caller to them.

In The Event of a Robbery:

  • Stay calm.

  • Do not argue.

  • Cooperate with the thief.

  • Listen.

  • Do not follow or attempt to capture the thief – this places you and others in great danger.

  • Do not surprise the thief or move unexpectedly.

Try to be observant and remember details:

  • What is he / she wearing?

  • What does he or she look like? How tall?

  • What colour hair does he or she have?

  • Does he or she have any unusual characteristics such as tattoos or piercing

  • If he or she had a weapon, describe it, and;

  • After he or she leaves, try to avoid touching anything the thief has touched. Make a note of the items that were touched.

After a Robbery:

  • Get to a safe location.

  • Call the police immediately and report the robbery.

  • Contact the HR Generalist.

  • Ask all witnesses to remain until the police arrive.

  • Do not discuss the robbery with media or bystanders.

  • Cooperate fully with the police investigation.

  • Report the incident using the Violence Reporting Form.

In the Event of Road Rage Situations:

  • Employees are reminded to avoid potential road rage situations.

  • Plan your route in advance (frustration or erratic behaviour is more likely if you are lost).

  • If you feel yourself getting upset, open the window, breathe deeply and listen to relaxing music.

  • Consciously decide not to let traffic delays or other people’s driving habits affect your driving.

  • Acknowledge your mistakes which can reduce conflict.

  • Be courteous and considerate.

  • Do not compete or retaliate.

  • Leave traffic enforcement to the police.

  • Avoid honking your horn unless necessary.

  • Stay in your vehicle, lock the doors and call the police if you are being physically threatened.

    • Dial 911 to reach emergency services.

    • Contact local emergency services

In the Event of a Physical Assault:

  • Remain calm.

  • Be firm but don’t engage or provoke the attacker.

  • If you can, leave the situation as soon as possible.

  • If you can, get to a safe location, secure yourself and call 911.

  • If appropriate, make noise and yell for help.

Summoning Immediate Assistance

If you experience or witness violence, summon immediate assistance:

  • Call 911 or the police.

  • Yell for help.

  • If you are in your vehicle, honk the horn repeatedly, turn on your hazards and lock all of your doors.

  • Use your car keys to activate your car’s emergency alarm.

  • Immediately go to a safe location.

  • Contact the HR Generalist.

Reporting Incidents or Concerns

All workers are required to report any act or threatening statement of violence arising out of their employment, to their Lead Link or HR Generalist.

Everyone who is subject to workplace violence also have the option of pursuing recourse through their Provincial Police and/or the Federal Criminal Code.

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