Social Question

rooeytoo's avatar

Have you ever seen a sign that said "Violence towards our staff will not be tolerated?"?

Asked by rooeytoo (26929points) June 4th, 2012

I was recently at the doctors and saw the sign there. Later I took my dog to the vet and they had the same sign. Why would anyone act violently towards the doctor or vet? Then tonight there was a segment on the news about violence towards emergency vehicle personnel. What is causing this phenomenon? Why hurt those who are there to help you?

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27 Answers

iBite's avatar

I have not seen any such signs in my area but I might guess that drug-seeking behavior is the root of some of these signs in offices.

As a former EMT, I can say that there is always the potential for violence in the field. People are unpredictable, especially when injured or under emotional stress. Patients can become combative when being treated if they have a head injury or are under the influence. Not all people handle emergency situations well. Unfortunately they can go off on those there to help.

Aethelflaed's avatar

I’ve seen many that say ‘abuse’, not ‘violence’. Some patients can get pretty verbally abusive.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

Never. It seems ridiculous unless I’ve missed something BIG.

wallabies's avatar

I’ve never seen this before but…lol, that’s kinda strange. I have seen in an office building “footwear must be worn at all times”. At a bar on the beach, okay you expect it. In an office hallway? I lol every time.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

It does seem very strange. If the message was only in one office, it might be understandable. To have it crop up in multiple locations and become a news story, there must be some underlying factor.

If this was happening in the US, it could probably be attributed to the unemployed and uninsured taking out their personal frustrations on the people who are attempting to assist in their care. Since you are in Australia, where the country has a national health care system, that possible explanation doesn’t hold up. If you find out anything, will you let us know?

@wallabies There are regulation signs posted all over the world that cause eye-rolling at what seems so obvious. When I was a hotel inspector, my co-workers and I kept a dept. file that we updated with images of the bizarre signs we saw during our travels.

ucme's avatar

It’s like at the sperm bank, “Appointments must be on time, anyone cumming too soon will be ejaculated from the premises” ;¬}

downtide's avatar

I see these signs a lot. In doctors surgeries, hospitals, bus and train stations, even supermarkets. It’s very common here. I guess there must be a lot of anti-social behaviour in my city.

Kayak8's avatar

Both of these settings make complete sense to me based on laws that exist where personnel from both settings must report signs of abuse (to people or animals). Such reporting or even exploration of abuse (by asking questions) could cause escalation.

Further, in the case of human healthcare personnel, they treat the patient that walks through the door—regardless of level of intoxication or attempts to secure narcotics as a result of the appointment. General violence in these settings can involve spitting, shoving, and kicking.

MilkyWay's avatar

I see them quite often, usually in Medical practices as @downtide says.

janbb's avatar

Never; I suspect it is a country by country phenomenon but seemingly self- evident.

ragingloli's avatar

Nope. But I would ignore it anyway.

marinelife's avatar

That phenomenon does not seem to have made it here yet. Thank goodness.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I once worked for an orchestra where the fiddle players could get really obnoxious and start to pick on other members of the group. They especially were rude to the wind section (who sat next to them) and to the conductor and the assistant conductor.

The strings developed such a bad reputation (and were so aggressive) that management had a sign made up. it read:


jessiemay25's avatar

The wait at my medical centre is over an hour even with an appointment.. anyone would get anti-social let alone if they mixed up your appointment etc.

poisonedantidote's avatar

You should take a look around the UK, they have that sign everywhere, on the bus, at the hospital, and so on. After having lived there for some time and seeing how backwards the country is, I can understand why some people would get violent.

They love a piece of paper, and nothing gives the staff more joy than refusing someone service because their anal rule requires some specific bullshit.

While in the UK in early 2000, I had a bad tooth ache so I called to make an appointment to get it fixed, only to find out that despite paying about 60 bucks a week from my wages for medical coverage, that they will not give you an appointment unless you have a phone number where they can contact you. I did not have a phone or mobile, so I basically got told to go screw by some incompetent cow in a call center, who would not want to slap the bitch in that situation.

Then there was the other time recently, a few months ago I was in the UK again, I had to register with a doctor just in case. I was renting a room in a shared house, and had a contract that showed I was living there and paying rent. However, the receptionist at the clinic would not accept that as proof of address, instead she wanted a utility bill, a thing that I had no way of providing.

So, even though I had paid 1000’s in to the system, it seems I cant get a tooth ache fixed or register with a doctor, because I did not want to give my custom to a mobile phone company or pay 1000’s a month for my own place in central London. Rich and own a mobile? right this way Sr, paid 1000’s in to the system but can only afford a room at the moment? go screw. ... Yea, I can understand why they have that sign.

wundayatta's avatar

There could be many reasons why people get violent. I think some have an attitude of entitlement and when they think they have been wronged, they have no control and get violent. I think some have low self esteem and a strong sense of injustice, and can lose it when they don’t know how to deal with disappointment. I think some people are angry all the time, and are just about ready to go off at the slightest provocation.

I suspect there are laws that require notification that violence is not tolerated. Or else you can’t do something to protect yourself. So these signs provide what seems like ridiculous notice that you shouldn’t behave impolitely, so that the office can evict you without serving you. There may be health laws saying that they have to serve everyone who comes to the office, unless otherwise notified. This is notification that some behavior abrogates their right to be served. It’s probably a legal thing.

laurenkem's avatar

I think I’ve mainly seen these signs in medical offices and especially emergency rooms. I can only guess at the origin, but the only thing that comes to my mind is that, especially in the er, people are there for hours just waiting to be seen. In some cases, the person may be bleeding or in severe pain, and I can see how people/family members accompanying may become verbally abusive to the staff and even physically violent, if they feel that their loved one is being “neglected” by the hospital system.

Ron_C's avatar

I think that those signs are just another feature of our declining civilization. Everything from excessive tattoos and piercings on our youth to the common use of 4 letter words, stupid “reality” shows, and increasingly rude behavior towards eachother.

My dad thought that things were falling apart when the Hippies rose but that is nothing compared to the class warfare, mistreatment by militarized police departments, and a government that works from a hit list.

I suspect that this century will see the rise of China as the world’s super power and the decline of the U.S. into a group of broken third world countries.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

No, I’ve not yet seen one but I’m not at all surprised because so many people are regular rude and verbally combative to service people. I can see in situations where people are panicked or hurting that their senses will be heightened. I agree with those who feel enough for their employees to take a stance, too many workplaces let abuse by customers go on and on.

rooeytoo's avatar

I don’t think the sort of person who is prone to abusing someone is going to be stopped by a sign. And I think it is a sad commentary on what civilization is coming to that a sign like that is even considered necessary.

I find it interesting that some of the answers above offer reasons as to why it would happen, are you excusing the behaviour or just explaining it?

Berserker's avatar

I’ve seen that both in the welfare and work insurance offices. I guess some people can get pretty hardcore if they don’t get their money or if something is denied to them. Never saw that at a vet’s though.

stardust's avatar

Yep, I’ve seen plenty of those signs. While it’s not that unusual, it’s a real pity that people would behave in an abusive manner.

flo's avatar

Yes, at the Emergency. It is no wonder,they have had experiences from drunks people on drugs and disrespectful people.

bewailknot's avatar

I have not noticed that sign but I am known for not noticing things like that. I did see a sign on a restaurant entrance that said “No Guns Allowed” – this was in Texas.

Nimis's avatar

I’ve seen those signs before. I don’t think posting a sign is really supposed to stop someone from being violent. Rather, I think it gives the establishment more grounds to refuse service under said conditions.

rooeytoo's avatar

It seems to me there is a lot less inhibition about allowing oneself to fly into a rage. We have road rage, and waiting in line rage, parking space rage, just about every kind of rage you can think of. Why is everyone so mad about everything??? Were they always this way and just kept their anger under control better? It can’t be just the economic situation because Australia is still in good shape and it is happening here. Are people simply more rude or self centered? Why is everyone so pissed off???

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I’ve never seen such signs but, sadly, workplace violence is VERY common.

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