Workplace violence

Protecting employees against workplace violence through data insights

In the bustling world of retail, an emerging threat is taking its toll. With 867 incidents of abuse and violence reported a day, and 10% of the workforce suffering some form of harassment, it is no surprise that ‘Workplace Violence and Abuse’ is high on the agenda with 96% of retailers nominating violence against their staff as the top issue. (BRC Crime Report 2023).

Beyond the immediate physical and emotional consequences, the financial repercussions of such incidents are often underestimated. In this article we delve into the depths of the cost of workplace violence and shed light on how better data drives better decisions (for the Retailers and Police).

The impact of violence may seem obvious, and a major factor is undoubtedly the human cost, where the experiences can lead to physical and long-term mental health challenges, impacting both the individual and their families. Within the convenience retail sector, it is estimated there were 76,000 incidents of violence reported, with over 1.2 million incidents of verbal abuse. (ACS Crime Report 2024).

If this happened to you, what would you think about your employer – was the Duty of Care neglected or ignored? 

Negligence, claims, and compensation, along with medical expenses and cost of staff turnover make up the complex web of financial strain that hits the bottom line. Compounded by hidden costs caused by productivity plunge as employees grapple with fear, trauma, or the need for time off.

The need to have insight to fuel better decisions is evident. According to the Retail Security Survey, 45% of businesses have cut hours, whilst 28% reported closing at least one store due to increase in aggression and organised crime group activity. The impact on communities, staff and revenue is significant. 

In the quest for a safer work environment there is however a powerful ally in the camp: ‘good risk data.’ It is this ally that can arm retailers and police with the insights needed to make better decisions. There are challenges as to how to capture and analyse data in such a dynamic environment, with under reporting, quality of reporting and resourcing compounding the issue, but if achieved, many retailers have evidenced that ROI can be realised quickly once insight is visible.

Understanding historical trends is crucial for shaping the future. Incident data provides a wider context, identifying patterns, common triggers, and vulnerabilities that can be used to highlight emerging risks, inform LP, and risk strategies.

So how does data help to reduce workplace violence?

Spotting Patterns and Red Flags: Good risk data acts as a detective, uncovering hidden patterns and red flags that might go unnoticed. By analysing historical incident data, organisations can identify common denominators, enabling them to recognise potential risk factors before they escalate.

Tailored Risk Assessment: Just as a tailored suit fits perfectly, a well-structured risk assessment based on good data ensures that resources are allocated where they are needed most. This personalised approach allows organisations to prioritise areas with higher risks and implement targeted interventions.

Early Warning Systems: Think of good risk data as your organisation’s early warning system. By leveraging real-time monitoring and data analytics, it becomes possible to detect warning signs and unusual patterns that could indicate a brewing storm. This early detection empowers organisations to intervene before tensions escalate.

Informed Decision-Making: Armed with the right data, decision-makers can make informed choices about interventions and preventive measures. Good risk data helps organisations navigate through uncertainties, providing a solid foundation for strategic decision-making.

Employee Training and Empowerment: Good risk data is the backbone of effective employee training programs. By understanding the specific risk areas within the organisation, tailored training can be developed to equip employees with conflict resolution skills, de-escalation techniques, and the confidence to report concerns.

Strategic Security Measures: Picture good risk data as a blueprint for security measures. By understanding past incidents and potential risks, organisations can strategically implement security measures, such as access controls and surveillance, in areas identified as higher risk and risk to resourcing models for store detective and security personnel. 

Continuous Improvement Journey: The journey towards a violence-free workplace is ongoing. Good risk data facilitates continuous improvement by evaluating the effectiveness of implemented measures. This iterative process ensures that strategies remain adaptive to changing risks and workplace dynamics.


The cost of workplace violence in the retail sector extends far beyond a single incident or moment in time. It is a sobering reality that demands attention. By understanding the multifaceted toll—both human and financial—retailers can take steps to create a safer work environment. 

The investment in prevention and employee well-being not only mitigates the immediate costs but also safeguards the long-term success and reputation of the retail business. 

In the end, the true price of workplace violence is immeasurable, making prevention an invaluable investment for both the people and the prosperity of the retail industry.

By taking the decision to implement an Incident and Case Management platform such as ZINC SYNAPSE, Retailers will be able to enhance Duty of Care to all employees.

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