Send to

Choose Destination
Med J Aust. 2005 Oct 3;183(7):352-6.

Experiences of occupational violence in Australian urban general practice: a cross-sectional study of GPs.

Author information

Discipline of General Practice, University of Newcastle, University Drive, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia.



To establish the prevalence and characteristics of occupational violence in Australian urban general practice, and examine practitioner correlates of violence.


Cross-sectional questionnaire survey mailed to all members (n = 1085) of three urban divisions of general practice in New South Wales in August and September 2004. The three divisions were chosen to provide a range of socioeconomic status (SES) demographics.


Occupational violence towards general practitioners during the previous 12 months.


528 GPs returned questionnaires (49% response rate). Of these, 63.7% had experienced violence in the previous year. The most common forms of violence were "low level" violence - verbal abuse (42.1%), property damage/theft (28.6%) and threats (23.1%). A smaller proportion of GPs had experienced "high level" violence, such as sexual harassment (9.3%) and physical abuse (2.7%). On univariate analysis, violence was significantly more likely towards female GPs (P < 0.001), less experienced GPs (P = 0.003) and GPs working in a lower SES status area (P < 0.001), and among practice populations encompassing greater social disadvantage (P = 0.006), mental health problems (P < 0.001), and drug- and alcohol-related problems (P < 0.001). Experience of violence was greater for younger GPs (P = 0.005) and those providing after-hours care (P = 0.033 for after-hours home visits). On multivariate analysis, a significant association persisted between high level violence and lower SES area (odds ratio [OR], 2.86), being female (OR, 5.87), having practice populations with more drug-related problems (OR, 5.77), and providing home visits during business hours (OR, 4.76). More experienced GPs encountered less violence (OR, 0.77) for every additional 5 years of practice.


Occupational violence is a considerable problem in Australian urban general practice. Formal education programs in preventing and managing violence would be appropriate for GPs and doctors-in-training.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center