When an incident is at crisis point the focus is on preventing harm for all involved. Staff should not put their own safety or the safety of others in jeopardy. It is important to remember that inappropriate intervention can worsen and extend the length crisis situations.
Where practitioners are unable to prevent the crisis escalating further and it is clear that it is deteriorating to physical violence, the following points may allow for prevention of physical injury:
- If the situation escalates to violent behaviour and staff or other persons are at risk immediately remove yourself and others from the situation
- Immediately inform other members of staff of the urgency of the situation
- Where available, duress alarms may also be used. The presence of a number of staff may often defuse the situation
- Protect yourself and other members of staff – however never turn your back
- Care must be taken where possible to protect other clients from injury and to avoid compromising their care
- The aggressor should be informed that staff will call the Police who may remove him/her from the premises
Once the crisis has peaked and is abating, the aggressor will be in a recovery stage where anger begins to subside. De-escalation strategies are still required during this stage it is easy for anger and aggressive behaviour to be retriggered and to again escalate to crisis point. The feelings that accompany this phase are likely to leave the person feeling vulnerable and confused and this is not the time to review an incident and apply consequences. The focus is still on restoring equilibrium for all concerned.
Other young people who were involved in the incident might also require follow up support and all efforts should be made to ensure clients feel safe accessing the service.