Thankfully such direct threats of violence against housing staff doing their job are rare - but they do happen.
Well done to Inside Housing for their latest annual surveys of assaults and abuse on housing workers. They report some horrific stories and accounts of at best incompetent or at worse callous responses by some employers.
After a 22% increase last year there is a welcome 3% decrease this year. However, it is pretty clear that there is a massive problem with under reporting of incidents.
I was quoted in the article "John Gray, who represents housing staff (they should have referred to my branch role not NEC) of Unison, says this issue is often raised by members of the union. ‘There’s a cultural problem,’ he says. ‘Staff feel that if they put a complaint in about a resident, the organisation is so pro-resident they would get the blame for causing the problem.’ This, he points out, is not the way to keep staff – or tenants - safe. If a resident is threatening staff, it is a good bet they are also threatening their neighbours.
And candid assessments by housing professionals cast some doubt on the reliability of the figures supplied by social landlords who told us they had no incidents of verbal or physical abuse to report this year. ‘There’s nowhere where it’s zero,’ is Mr Gray from Unison’s assessment. ‘Zero means that stuff is not being reported.’