Trauma-informed care and addressing occupational violence

Trauma-informed care and addressing occupational violence: A research-based approach in Australia


Occupational violence continues to be a significant concern across various industries, including healthcare, where workers are frequently exposed to high-stress situations. Recognising the impact of traumatic experiences on individuals and organisations, the adoption of trauma-informed care principles is gaining momentum. This blog explores the research supporting trauma-informed care and its role in addressing levels of occupational violence in Australia.

Understanding trauma-informed care:

Trauma-informed care is an approach that acknowledges and responds to the impact of trauma on individuals and promotes an environment of safety, trust, and empowerment. It recognises that many individuals have experienced trauma, which can manifest in various ways, including aggression or violence. Trauma-informed care emphasises empathy, compassion, and a focus on the individual’s strengths, fostering healing and resilience.

Prevalence of occupational violence in Australia:

Research studies consistently highlight the prevalence of occupational violence in Australia, particularly in healthcare settings. According to a survey conducted by the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, nearly 70% of surveyed nurses reported experiencing verbal or physical assault during their careers. This alarming statistic underscores the urgent need for effective interventions to address and prevent occupational violence.

The link between trauma and occupational violence:

Research demonstrates a strong connection between trauma and the perpetration of violence in the workplace. Individuals who have experienced trauma may exhibit maladaptive coping mechanisms, including aggression, as a result of their past experiences. Understanding this link is crucial for organisations to develop trauma-informed strategies that address the root causes of violence and promote a supportive and safe work environment.

Benefits of trauma-informed care in addressing occupational violence:

  1. Prevention and de-escalation: Trauma-informed care approaches focus on early intervention, recognising signs of distress, and employing de-escalation techniques to prevent situations from escalating into violence. By addressing trauma triggers and providing support, the risk of violence can be minimised.
  2. Staff well-being: Implementing trauma-informed care fosters a workplace culture that prioritises staff well-being. By promoting self-care, providing resources for mental health support, and creating a supportive environment, organisations can reduce stress levels among employees, leading to a decrease in workplace violence incidents.
  3. Empowerment and collaboration: Trauma-informed care emphasises empowering individuals and involving them in decision-making processes. This collaborative approach can contribute to reducing power imbalances, enhancing communication, and promoting a sense of ownership and accountability among staff members.
  4. Long-term healing and resilience: Trauma-informed care recognises that healing from trauma is an ongoing process. By incorporating trauma-informed principles into organisational policies and practices, institutions can support employees’ long-term healing and resilience, reducing the risk of future violent incidents.


Occupational violence remains a pressing concern in Australia, with significant implications for individuals and organisations. Research supports the implementation of trauma-informed care as a comprehensive approach to address occupational violence effectively. By adopting trauma-informed principles, organisations can create safe, supportive environments that prioritise staff well-being, prevent violence, and promote healing and resilience among employees. It is imperative for institutions to invest in training programs, policies, and resources that reflect trauma-informed care principles, contributing to a safer and more compassionate work environment in Australia.

Training workshop photo