How to Recognize Workplace Abuse?

In all workplaces, each one of us has strengths and weaknesses, and each in turn has different skills to add to the smooth running of the setting.

There are many different situations that can occur in a playwork setting. Not just with the children and young people in our care, but other factions can come into play, such as stress related issues at home, coming into school when you are ill, (but shouldn't really be there), possible bullying in the workplace etc.

All these can add to the playworker feeling over whelmed, and unable to cope, with the everyday running of the setting.

If you have a close relationship with one particular colleague, then you will know distinctly know when there is something wrong with them. Showing your concern and lending a friendly ear, can help ease their situation, when they know that they can vent their feelings, to someone they trust.

There are certain times when some colleagues are 'put upon' and given so many tasks, that it just overwhelms them, and one can support them by lightening the load, and offering to take some of the tasks off their shoulders.

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In the case of children and young people, there are differentiating circumstances when colleagues may need to have support. Here are a number of different scenarios:-

  1. A child becomes violent towards another child, and may need restraining, as according to policies in the setting, and one person may not be adequate to contain the offender. Also in this situation it is advisable to have a witness so that the member of staff will have a "back" "up" contingency plan in place, in case of repercussions with parents.
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  2. A child suddenly becomes ill, and has vomited, in a children's play area in the setting. No one person is physically able to deal with the child and the clean up operation. a) Children need to be evacuated from the area b) the area needs to be contained c) the area needs to be cleaned and sanitized d) the child needs to be clean up and changed, and someone needs to contact parents to pick up the child.
    Possibly three people may need to give support in this particular instance, so that all tasks are done quickly and efficiently as possible.
  3.  A child becomes disruptive in the setting. The playworker has to supervise too many children to be able to leave the area to remove the child. If a member of staff is in close proximity then, they can take the child from the area to allow the playworker to supervise the majority of the class.
  4.  A child may have a serious accident on the inside or outside areas of the setting. This is a similar situation to No.2, but other first aid skills may come into play. The child needs to be comforted, and the injury assessed. If it is a head injury, it is the policy of my setting that parents or carers will be informed, regardless of how slight the injury is. If it is a sprain/suspected fracture then the same rule applies, and ice-packs or plasters/dressings will be applied if appropriate. If deemed an emergency, then the setting may call 999, if parents cannot be contacted. If the child or young person cannot be moved, then one or two members of staff will have to stay with the child, while another contacts the line manager who can make the necessary arrangements and phone calls.

A parent is abusive to one of your colleagues, and may show aggressiveness. In my setting, the line manager would be called to deal with the situation, by passing word of mouth, quickly and efficiently 'down the line' so, that the member of staff in question is not left by themselves to deal with the irate parent.
If a co-worker is suddenly stressed and tearful for no apparent reason, it could mean that they are in a depressive state, and maybe counseling would be a possible option for them to consider, and they could be approached by a close colleague to make this suggestion, in an appropriate and sympathetic manner.
A member of staff is accused by another co-worker of a misdemeanor, which is false, which you, yourself know to be untrue. You could, or actually should be a character witness for that person. After all you would hope that they would do the same for you, if you were in a similar situation.
A member of staff runs a choir workshop, once a week, and was unable to attend, due to illness. I offered my services to take the evening session, so that the children did not miss out on a rehearsal. I have also supported in Christmas concerts and rehearsals for similar reasons.

Updated: Aug 10, 2021
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How to Recognize Workplace Abuse?. (2019, Dec 15). Retrieved from

How to Recognize Workplace Abuse? essay
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