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Violence in the Workplace

Important Contacts

In the event of an emergency, the Duke Emergency Web Site will be updated frequently with instructions and information about the incident, as well as campus services and resources available to the Duke community.

Violence connected to the workplace takes many forms. Dangerous or threatening behavior may come from a co-worker, student, patient, a family member involved in an abusive relationship, or someone who has no business relationship with the workplace. Events of workplace violence may include threats in person, by note, telephone, fax, or email. A threat may be observed in a written or oral form, and/or a gesture that could be interpreted by a reasonable person as conveying intent to cause physical harm to persons or property.

  • Triggers of Workplace Violence: Violence can be triggered by a number of experienced or perceived events in a workplace setting that result from personal interaction with others, disputes with Duke's workplace policies, abusive relationships outside of work, or violent behavior of patients in the health care setting. Read more... 
  • Warning Signs of Potential Violence: Recognizing potential workplace violence requires observation, information, and judgment. To assist you in this process it is helpful to have some understanding of what kind of warning signs to observe in the workplace. Read more... 
  • Potential Relationship Violence: Relationship violence has shown an alarming rate of occurrence in the workplace. It is estimated that 18,700 incidents of workplace violence in the U. S. per year are related to relationship violence. Read more... 
  • How to Deal with Concerns of Workplace Violence: If you're presented with a violent situation you should have an idea of what actions you will take. If you are able to rehearse your strategies you will be better prepared to handle the situation in a calm and thoughtful manner. Read more... 
  • How to Discuss Violence Prevention in the Workplace: It is important to maintain an open dialogue and conversation on violence in the workplace. Read more... 
  • How to Deal with Angry People: It is important to have in your mind what to do when in physical jeopardy. Think before you act, use common sense, and avoid confrontation. It can be helpful to rehearse in your mind (imagine a possible situation) or with a colleague as to what to do in this kind of situation. Read more...


Special acknowledgement to the University of Washington's HR web site on Violence Prevention for use of some material.