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Rise in council attacks, says union

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Assaults against local government workers in Scotland have increased by 43% in the past year, a Unison Scotland survey has suggested.

Council staff saw assaults increase by 2,723 from the previous year, from 6,297 to 9,121.

Education workers suffered the highest levels of assault with teachers, classroom assistants and janitors particularly affected, the survey based on Freedom of Information Act requests revealed.

Social care workers in residential and home care settings also reported high assault figures.

Assaults were at their greatest in cities but Unison was disappointed that Glasgow and Edinburgh city councils were unable to provide figures stating the nature of assault and type of worker affected.

“This begs the question of whether either council would be in a position to assess their levels of assaults and put in place remedies to address them,” Unison’s report stated.

The union also expressed disappointment that assaults by children with special needs or elderly people with dementia were widely regarded as “part of the job”, insisting many precautions and safeguards could be implemented.

Overall, assaults for all public sector workers rose to 32,263 across Scotland, with the largest number of assaults reported in the health sector.

Scottish Organiser Dave Watson said: “It is completely unacceptable that thousands of dedicated staff providing services on behalf of the community are being assaulted at work. All those affected deserve stronger legal protection and better protective measures."

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