Key messages

  • The Victorian Government is committed to addressing and reducing violence against staff in healthcare settings.
  • Current initiatives include standardising Code Grey responses, improving data collection on violence in healthcare settings, and improving education and training.
  • Eligible health services are now able to apply for funding to reduce and prevent violence, through the Victorian Government's Health Service Violence Prevention Fund.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services has developed guidelines for implementing behaviour assessment rooms in emergency departments.

The Victorian Government is committed to addressing violence in healthcare settings and reducing violence against hospital staff.

Behavioural assessment rooms - guidelines

Behavioural assessment rooms can be an effective intervention for managing aggressive patients in hospital emergency departments. These rooms were developed in response to the special needs of patients exhibiting aggression and the need to maximise the safety of staff, patients and others. Agitated and aggressive patients are removed from the main emergency department area, which has equipment with which they can harm themselves or others and stimuli that may exacerbate their agitation.

Behavioural assessment rooms provide a separate space within which a multidisciplinary team can work, as well as providing privacy for patients while the situation is assessed and appropriately managed. These rooms can reduce the risk of injury for the patient and staff, facilitate a more positive patient experience, and reduce distress to other patients and visitors in the emergency department.

The Department of Health and Human Services has developed guidelines to help health services establish appropriate procedures and policies regarding the use and design of behavioural assessment rooms. The guidelines are available to download from this page. 

These guidelines apply to Victorian hospitals (public and private) that have, or are planning to introduce, a behavioural assessment room within their emergency department. They are guidelines – they are not a substitute for health services obtaining their own independent legal and medical advice.

Behavioural assessment rooms are not the norm in urgent care centres, mainly because staff resources are not available to maintain staff and patient safety or to support patient care in the room.

Strategy to reduce occupational violence in Victorian hospitals

Reducing occupational violence in Victorian hospitals (June 2016) outlines the government's strategic objectives to prevent and reduce occupational violence and aggression in Victorian health services. It is based on a culture change approach, with strong themes of prevention, early intervention and post-incident response. The strategic objectives and initiatives to achieve them are focussed on raising awareness, building knowledge and capability among the workforce and leadership teams, and embedding systems and processes at the individual, service and system level.

For more information about the government's strategy, visit Occupational violence and aggression.

Health Services Violence Prevention Fund

Eligible health services are now able to apply for funding to reduce and prevent violence, through the Victorian Government's Health Service Violence Prevention Fund. The Health Service Violence Prevention Fund is being rolled out over four years.