Study demonstrates scale of violence against public sector workers

Minister Faeser (centre)

Minister Faeser (centre)

© 2022 AFP

Almost every fourth employee in the public sector has experienced violence in their everyday work.

Almost every fourth employee in the public sector has everyday work experienced violence. In a study presented on Friday in Berlin on behalf of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, 23 percent of the employees surveyed stated that they had already experienced violence. Twelve percent said they had even experienced several violent incidents within a year. Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser (SPD) spoke of a “shattering result” and announced measures to improve the protection of employees.

For the study, scientists interviewed more than 10,000 employees from over 1,600 authorities. the police was not included in the investigation.

The experience of violence therefore differs greatly depending on the area of ​​employment. The fire brigade, rescue workers, correctional system and prison were particularly affected regulatory office – Here, a third of the employees had at least one experience of violence within a year. However, it was less than ten percent among employees in social and labor administration. Men were affected slightly more often than women. The numbers have increased during the corona pandemic.

Federal Minister of the Interior fibers announced countermeasures. “We must do more to protect the people who keep our country running every day – whether in office or as rescuers in need,” she said. “We will work together with the unions to improve the prevention of violence and better protection for employees.” The perpetrators must be prosecuted.

Faeser visited the public order office on Friday together with union representatives Berlin-Mitte, to get first-hand reports from employees about their experiences of violence.

After the visit, the chairman of the civil servants’ association dbb, Ulrich Silberbach, called for a “systematic recording of the attacks” on public sector employees. A “broad consensus is needed that an attack on state representatives is an attack on our democratic institutions and values ​​and thus on all of us.”

The chairwoman of the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB), Yasmin Fahimi, explained that the study had revealed “enormous gaps”. “The employees often lack the support of their superiors,” she criticized. “Many incidents of violence are therefore not reported at all, and the majority of those questioned do not feel safe on duty.” These are “unsustainable conditions that employers must eliminate”.

The deputy head of the police union, Jörg Radek, reported great concern among the officers. “Many fear that the many harsh tones, insults and threats will eventually be followed by a fist or a weapon,” explained Radek. The issue of violence against civil servants must be discussed much more in public: “Short waves of indignation after shocking, startling acts of violence lack sustainability.”

The study was carried out by the University of Applied Sciences for Public Administration in Speyer on behalf of Faeser’s ministry. In addition to the survey, the researchers also relied on the evaluation of existing data material. According to the ministry, the study is “unique on this scale.”