Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
May 3, 1996

EAP: Managing threats of violence

This is the last of three articles on violence in the workplace.
A human tendency is to ignore, minimize or even deny the threat for potential workplace violence. You are encouraged to take all threats seriously.

Report any violence (physical or verbal) to your supervisor, the Critical Response Team (4-6612) or, if the violence seems imminent, the Department of Public Safety. If someone actually commits a violent act, the consequences can be devastating -- loss of life, personal guilt if someone is hurt or killed, disciplinary action or job loss.

Thoroughly report violent actions or threats by providing facts, including where and when the event happened, who witnessed the action or threat, and what was said or done. Provide a written report to your supervisor and keep a copy yourself.

You can help prevent workplace violence by knowing the warning signs (see the March 22 Inside Iowa State), learning to deal effectively with stress and conflicts, and reporting any violent behavior or threats.

There are several ways to maintain your personal safety when dealing with angry, threatening and potentially violent people. Here are some tips:

  • Apologize for inconveniences.

  • Control your emotions -- stay calm and keep your voice even-toned.

  • Try to genuinely sympathize with the person presenting the threat.

  • Ignore sarcastic remarks and personal attacks.

  • Don't argue or accuse.

  • Explain things you can do to help.

  • Leave the area and call for help as soon as possible.

    Iowa State's Critical Incident Response Team is working to create a safe environment and develop an anti-violence policy and protocol to deal with violent threats and acts. If you have questions about current policy or want to discuss a person or situation, call Employee Assistance Program, 4- 5069; Department of Public Safety, 4-4428; Dean of Students, 4-1020; Student Counseling Services, 4-5056; or Legal Services, 4-5352.

    Submitted by: Charlene Gooch

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    Revised 5/2/96