Violence against nurses is pervasive. They are more likely to experience physical violence than any other health-care professionals. Violence against nurses occurs in the context of violence against women, with 87.5% of Australia’s nursing workforce identifying as women(sic).
But only about one in three assaulted nurses report attacks to the police. Nurses say the support they receive from their employers and police is generally poor, and they feel discouraged from proceeding with the reports they do make.
But patients who are intoxicated or have mental illness can be held accountable.
Another misconception is that nurses have to be physically hurt for assaults to be reported.
However, assault is not characterised by its impact, but rather the act itself. A patient can be guilty of assault if they physically attack a nurse or if they threaten to do so.