Workplace violence against Swedish social workers’, teachers and journalists: Outcomes, measures and support


  • Gabriella Scaramuzzino Socialhögskolan, Lunds universitet


There has been much attention in public debates and in media on Swedish social workers being subjected to different kinds of hate speech, threats and harassment. In the beginning of 2021 the Union for Professionals demanded that social workers should have the same legal protection as the staff in the police, rescue and ambulance services when it comes to workplace violence. Research on workplace violence against Swedish social workers is scarce. A recently published survey study, however, shows that the fear of being subjected to hate speech, threats and harassment affects both their autonomy and professional discretion (Scaramuzzino, 2020). This paper draws on the same study (N=1,236) and compares the experiences of workplace violence of Swedish social workers, teachers and journalists. The aim of the paper is to determine health-, work- and leisure time-related outcomes of workplace violence, what measures are taken and the role of support from various actors. The results show that being subjected to workplace violence often leads to multiple negative outcomes for all professional groups, but also to consequences beyond working life. The measures taken after being subjected to workplace violence clearly differ between groups of professionals. The results suggest that there is a need to improve the supportive structures within work organizations. The inability to adequately address workplace violence could also result in a significant reduction in skills for the organizations that employ these professional groups, if the employees would decide to leave the profession due to the risk of being subjected to workplace violence.


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