Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Purpose & Scope

For the purpose of this document, violence in the workplace is defined as a multidimensional phenomenon involving the misuse of power and resulting in physical, psychological or sexual abuse of targets

Perpetrators of violence may not be known to the organization (type I) or may involve patients/clients/family members (type II), present or past staff members (type III) or personal relationships (type IV)


We have developed this best practice guideline to:

  • Define and describe violence in the workplace.
  • Identify strategies to plan, implement and evaluate outcomes related to recognizing and assessing the risk of violence in the workplace.
  • Identify individual, organizational and system resources that support prevention, recognition and early detection and effective intervention related to violence in the workplace.
  • Identify outcomes related to prevention, recognition, early detection and successful mitigation of violence in the workplace.


To recognize, prevent and effectively intervene in violence in the workplace.

This guideline addresses:

  • Knowledge, competencies and behaviours.
  • Educational requirements and strategies.
  • Organizational, operational and system policy requirements.
  • Implementation strategies and tools.
  • Evaluation criteria and tools.
  • Future research opportunities.

Target Group: This guideline is relevant to all nurses in all settings.

Healthy Work Environment
Preventing and Managing Violence in the Workplace
Background Information