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Circular 5/86:- Assaults on Staff

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Reference No: E109/77/83 ; Date: 21/05/86

Circular 5/1986:- Assaults on Staff

A Dhuine Uasail,

I am directed by the Minister for the Public Service to state that he has accepted an agreed recommendation made by the General Council under the scheme of conciliation and arbitration for the civil service, regarding the procedures to apply where staff are assaulted in the course of (or in connection with) carrying out their official duties (Report 1047).

2. While Departments will, of course, continue to take appropriate measures to prevent, as far as possible, staff being assaulted in the course of their duties, it has been decided to issue some general instructions on the procedures to be followed when such assaults do occur. It has been agreed, in particular, to introduce a standard report form for cases of alleged assault. A copy of this report form is attached at Appendix A.

3. Officers should be advised that the onus is on them as individuals to report cases of alleged assault to the Gardai and/or their employing Department as appropriate. Officers should be facilitated in this regard by the grant of time off where necessary. The importance of furnishing such reports as soon after the event as possible should also be brought to their notice. Departments themselves may, of course, report such cases to the Gardai where they consider it appropriate, e.g. where the individual concerned is unable, for some reason, to do so.

4. It is important that the approach adopted by Departments in dealing with cases of reported assaults be as helpful and as positive as possible. Officers assaulted while acting bona fide in the
execution of their duties are entitled to expect their Department not only to advise them fully of any benefits to which they might be entitled (e.g. sick leave and recoupment of medical expenses), but also to adopt a supportive attitude in any legal action of a criminal nature which they decide to pursue.

5. Departments should, in addition, regularly review and if necessary improve their existing preventive measures in the light of any cases of assault reported to them.

6. For ease of reference, a summary of the benefits available to civil servants who are assaulted in the course of their duties is attached at Appendix B. A short note on the legal position in relation to assaults is also attached at Appendix C.

7. Some of the provisions referred to in Appendix B to this circular may also be applied in situations where officers are not on duty at the time of an assault, where it is claimed that the assault arose as a direct result of the nature of the officer’s employment. Details of any such cases should be submitted to the Department of the Public Service.

8. Any enquiries from Departments about this circular should be made to Room 3.22, Department of the Public Service, South Frederick Street, Dublin 2 (Telephone 779601, Ext 444). Personal enquiries should be made to the Personnel Unit of the employing Department.

9. Please bring this circular to the attention of all officers in your Department.

Mise le meas,
William P Smith
Deputy Secretary

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