Barriers and opportunities for workplace violence interventions in Australian paramedicine: A qualitative study


Emergency Medical Technicians
Emergency Medical Services
Workplace Violence
Occupational Injuries
Policy Making

How to Cite

Thomas BJ, O’Meara P, Edvardsson K, Spelten E. Barriers and opportunities for workplace violence interventions in Australian paramedicine: A qualitative study. Australasian Journal of Paramedicine [Internet]. 2020Aug.30 [cited 2020Dec.5];17. Available from:



Workplace violence directed at paramedics by patients and bystanders is a persistent and pervasive issue. There is little available evidence supporting the effectiveness of current interventions in the paramedicine context. No studies have reported on potential barriers and there is little evidence supporting opportunities for more effective interventions. The objective of this study was to make an inventory of current workplace interventions and explore the barriers and opportunities for these interventions as perceived by paramedics.


Ten paramedics were interviewed about their experiences and insights into workplace violence. The interview data underwent thematic and narrative analysis.


Seven interventions were highlighted, 10 barriers and 12 opportunities for current and future workplace violence interventions were discussed. The majority of the barriers related to culture in society, attitudes of staff, and lack of capacity for the ambulance service to take action following violent events. The opportunities raised included co-design of interventions, culture change for paramedics and communities, accountability for paramedics and perpetrators of violence, increased ambulance service options following violent events, and improving feedback to staff.


The findings of this study suggest that interventions are likely to be more effective and sustainable if they are evidence-based, co-designed, address all levels of healthcare, and evaluated. Important areas for future research include a focus on consequences and accountability for perpetrators and strategies for ambulance services and paramedics to participate in public health approaches to reducing violence in communities.


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