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Institutional Violence – Psychology


Institutional violence is one of the issues that are of great concern to psychologists, medical workers, business administrators, and many other stakeholders. It is vital to understand the underlying causes of this phenomenon and the ways in which such incidents can be averted. The problem is that they can lead to severe injuries of a person or even his/her death (James, Gilliard, & James, 2010, p. 541). Much attention should be paid to the detection of people who may be prone to violence. Secondly, managers should work on the development of conflict resolution strategies and safety procedures that can minimize possible risks. These are the main aspects that can be identified.

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Contributing Factors

There are several factors that can contribute to the increasing number of violent incidents in various organizations. Among them, one can single out substance abuse since it often makes people more aggressive or impulsive (Sandhu, 2001, p. 174). This is one of the issues that human service workers should consider when dealing with people who require their assistance. Furthermore, one should not forget about such an issue as works stress because it can also make a person very irritant even in those situations when there is no reason for discontent or indignation. Additionally, researchers note that mental health problems can also increase the risk of institutional violence (James et al., p. 542). This is why one should focus on the detection of people with possible psychological disorders. Apart from that, one should not forget that deinstitutionalization also increases the likelihood of violence. For example, due to the overcrowding of prisons, many convicts can be released; however, they can still pose a threat to society. Thus, institutional violence can be explained by a combination of different factors.

Institutional Culpability

Additionally, it is important to mention such a problem as institutional culpability. In other words, one should speak about those policies or actions that could have made the violent incident possible. In particular, one can speak about a lack of procedures that could have prevented a person from using force. As a rule, safety procedures are adopted only after a violent accident. For instance, several shooting in schools forced these organizations to raise their security standards and adopt new policies such as the use of metal detectors (Sandhu, 2001, p. 41). Additionally, many organizations are not willing to admit that they have to struggle with institutional violence since in this way, they can tarnish their reputation (James et al., p. 544). However, this strategy can only endanger the health and life of employees. So, one can say that institutional violence is often preventable.

Dynamics of Violence in Human Service Settings

It should be noted that nowadays human service workers interact with many people who can be potentially violent. For instance, people working in mental facilities, have to interact with the individuals who have committed many felonies (James et al., p. 542). One of the main dangers is that this violence is essentially unpredictable. The individuals, who perpetrate violence, are very impulsive, and their behavior cannot be easily analyzed. Moreover, their motives may not be easily understandable. These are the main aspects of violence in a human service setting. Hence, human service workers should take extra precautions.

Intervention Strategies

These examples indicate that management should focus on possible intervention strategies. First of all, the management of administration should pay close attention to those individuals who may have committed violent acts in the past (James et al., p. 547). This issue is particularly important for medical workers when they provide healthcare assistance to patients who have been found guilty of committing felonies. Additionally, managers should bear in mind that work stress can also be the cause of violence (Paludi, 2006, p. 43). This is why it might be necessary to provide counseling to individuals who may struggle with such problems (Paludi, 2006, p. 43). Additionally, organizations should have a contingency management plan. In other word, workers should know what must be done in the case of an emergency. For example, they should be able to respond to the situations when a certain person behaves violently (James et al., p. 547). Moreover, it is critical to establish procedures for resolving conflicts (Paludi, 2006, p. 43). Finally, administrators or managers should investigate possible cases of violence, instead of turning a blind eye to them. These precautions can reduce the dangers of institutional violence.

Support for the Victims

Apart from that, it is vital to pay close attention to the needs of the victims. They must first receive adequate medical care if they have sustained some physical injury. Additionally, they may need to receive psychological counseling because violent accidents normally produce a very powerful impression on a person (Shafii, 2008). They may also need to take a leave in order to cope with the effects of stress.


Overall, this discussion shows that institutional violence presents a significant challenge to many stakeholders. Organizations should develop risk management strategies that can minimize the likelihood and impact of such incidents. In this case, the main task is to identify individuals who are more likely to use force. Moreover, institutions must develop policies for responding to such situations as soon as possible.

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Reference List

James, R., Gilliard, B., & James, L. (2010). Crisis Intervention Strategies. New York, NY: Cengage Learning. Web.

Paludi, M. (2006). Understanding Workplace Violence: A Guide for Managers and Employees. New York, NY: Greenwood Publishing Group. Web.

Sandhu, D. (2001). Faces of Violence: Psychological Correlates, Concepts, and Intervention Strategies. New York, NY: Nova Publishers. Web.

Shafii, M. (2008). School Violence: Assessment, Management, Prevention. New York, NY: American Psychiatric Publications. Web.

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