One in six shopworkers who suffer an assault do not report it, says Usdaw
The interim results of the union’s survey of 1,844 shopworkers from across the UK found that there had been a decrease in the number of victims of verbal abuse in 2013, which fell to to just under half of shopworkers from 61% in 2012.
The number of threats experienced by shopworkers also declined, dropping from 36% to 34%, but violent attacks remained static at 4%, with one in six victims not reporting the assault.
Over the last ten years, Usdaw has been working with employers on its Freedom from Fear campaign and figures reported annually in the British Retail Consortium Crime Survey have shown a steady improvement, but the survey confirms a high number of incidents go unreported.
John Hannett, Usdaw general secretary, said: “For the last six years, Usdaw has surveyed shopworkers to collect information on the extent of violence and abuse they experience and to gauge their attitude towards the problem. Because of concerns about under-reporting this year, for the first time, we asked our members whether they reported what had happened to them.
“I was shocked to learn that 17% of shopworkers who were physically assaulted in the workplace did not report the incident, along with a third of those threatened and almost half of those who were verbally abused.
“This level of under-reporting of incidents is of great concern and my message to shopworkers is very clear, abuse is not a part of the job. We are encouraging our members to report all incidents of violence, threats and abuse to their managers and help get the issue tackled.”
Usdaw said it would be working with employers to make it easier for staff to report incidents and to ensure that action is taken to prevent violence threats and abuse.
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