Union offers safety advice to staff following hospital sexual assaults

Date: Thursday 15 January 2015

NHS union UNISON Scotland is advising staff to be more vigilant than normal after two separate incidents of sexual assault at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary (GRI) in recent weeks.

The union has also contacted employers demanding that specific advice about personal safety and relevant details are shared with local staff to ensure that they are aware of the issue and can take reasonable steps to ensure their safety.

Branch Secretary Cathy Miller said, “we have been in touch with the employers demanded extra security be put in place; that staff are given some basic information to help them stay safe at work and that local managers are pro active around staff safety when taking decisions.”

“In the absence of any formal advice to staff UNISON felt it was important that we let our members know that we are aware of the issue and are pressing for action. We would urge staff to be extra vigilant; where possible to travel to and from work with colleagues (and not alone); to report any suspicious behaviour to your line manager and local security and if appropriate to record any specific concerns about safety in the datex system.”

The message being given by UNISON to staff in the GRI is;

The chance of you becoming a victim of this kind of crime are relatively low – even in the current circumstance. Police Scotland advise that there are a number of simple steps you can take to further reduce the risk to yourself.

What general steps can I take?

  • Plan your journey.
  • Tell someone when and where you’re going and when to expect you to get there.
  • Carry a mobile phone and make sure it’s charged.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and look confident about where you are going.
  • Avoid listening to personal stereos which can make you less aware of what’s happening around you.
  • Personal attack alarms are good to have – makes sure you carry it in your hand so you can use it immediately. Choose a type which continues to sound if you activate and then drop it.
  • DON’T carry weapons or items such as pepper spray – this is illegal.

How do I stay safe on foot?

  • When out walking, always attempt to walk facing the traffic so that a car cannot pull up behind you.
  • If you think someone is following you, check by safely crossing to the other side of the street – cross more than once if necessary. If the person behind you crosses also and you believe that your suspicions are confirmed, stay to main, busy routes until you get to the first safe place and contact the police. Avoid using a phone box in the street as this gives the person following you an opportunity to trap you.
  • If you regularly go jogging or cycling, try to vary your route and the time you go. Stick to well-lit, preferably busy, roads with pavements and avoid wooded areas.
  • Don’t take short-cuts through dark alleyways, parks or waste ground

Please pass this advice on to your colleagues across GRI.


For further info contact:
Matt McLaughlin, Regional Organiser – 07904 341 979.