Zero Tolerance: the ANF Approach

The ANMF  'Zero Tolerance' occupational violence and aggression policy  was developed in response to concerns expressed by nurses and reported to the union, that acts of violence and aggression from patient/clients or others, in their workplaces are increasing.

The ANMF recommends that all workplace establish a zero tolerance approach to occupation violence and bullying based on a system /risk management approach.

(The ANMF has a separate policy on workplace bullying and harassment.)

NOTE:These policies can be purchased from the ANMF or are available on the ANMF website (for ANMF members only).

The policy sets out definitions and principles, and also provides Guidelines for workplaces which detail strategies to prevent/reduce occupational violence and aggression.

The Guidelines cover the following:

  • Policy and Procedures for workplaces
  • Placements/Admissions
  • Staffing Levels, Skills and Qualifications
  • Security Systems
  • Emergency Response Teams
  • Physical Environment
  • Communications and Alarm Systems
  • New Buildings, Renovations or Refurbishments
  • Education and Training
  • Information and education of patients and their families
  • Reporting to Police
  • Incident Reporting
  • Critical Incident Stress Management
  • Monitoring and Review of Policies and Procedures/Systems
  • Research

2014: ANMF 10-point plan to end violence against nurses

In October 2014, the ANMF (Vic Branch) announced it had developed and published a strategy to tackle the growing rate of violence and aggression in Victoria's public health system.

A Monash University survey showed nearly 70 per cent of ANMF (Vic Branch) members had experienced violence or aggression in the workplace in the previous year, with a quarter reporting experiencing violence or aggression on a regular basis.

Data released to Fairfax Media under freedom of information laws and published in early October,  showed over 14,000* violent 'Code Grey' or 'Code Black' incidents were recorded across 14 major Victorian hospitals in 2012/13.  The union was seeking political support for its '10-point plan to end violence and aggression against Victorian healthcare workers' (see plan, which can be downloaded from the Media Release).

The union delivered the document to the leaders of the major Victorian political parties and has asked them to commit to the plan on behalf of their parties and pledge to implement change within a reasonable time frame.

The union said the 10-point plan outlines the necessary actions required to improve security and implement proactive measures to identify and address risks.  It also aims to improve the reporting culture in Victoria's hospitals and improve the tools to assist with reporting and investigation, recognising that the reporting system VHIMS/Riskman is woefully inadequate.

Importantly, to address the aftermath of violent workplace incidents, the plan also advocates appropriate post-incident support.   

10-point plan summary

  1. Improve security
  2. Identify risk to staff and others
  3. Include family in the development of patient care plans
  4. Ensure violent incidents are reported, investigated and acted upon
  5. Prevent violence through workplace design
  6. Provide education and training to healthcare staff  
  7. Integrate legislation, policies and procedures in a state-wide approach
  8. Provide post-incident support
  9. Apply anti-violence approach across all healthcare disciplines
  10. Empower staff to expect a safe workplace

* Incidents are likely to be much higher as a non-reporting culture exists within hospitals due to time-consuming reporting mechanisms and a failure of management to follow through on reports or provide appropriate post-incident support.

Read more: ANMF Media Release October 7, 2014

See Also

The International Council of Nurses website . The ICN is a federation of more than 130 national nurses' associations (NNAs), representing millions of nurses worldwide. ICN works directly with these member associations on issues of importance to the nursing profession – including violence and other hazards in the health care sector.

Last amended February 2015

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