'I needed to be told that I hadn't failed': Experiences of violence against probation staff and of agency support
The research presented in this article was undertaken to establish the extent of victimization of various groups of staff in the county of Hertfordshire's Probation Service. In particular, it aimed to examine issues of gender in relation to such victimization. Staff were invited to detail incidents which they had experienced, and what factors led them to decide what to do about such incidents. In particular, reasons for reporting-or not reporting-were addressed. The research also had the aim of analysing how staff viewed issues of violence from their own perspective, and their suggestions for improving safety at work in relation to such violence. The research demonstrates that, in the main, probation service staff are safer than their counterparts in, for example, social services departments, and that they report incidents of physical violence to a greater degree than other incidents. It highlights that sexual aggression is not uncommon, but is largely unreported. The research also shows that staff who have been victims have clear ideas of the support they should receive, and how agencies should respond in a positive manner to aggressors.