The average annual rate of workplace violence perpetrated against local, county, state, and federal government employees in 2011 was three times greater than that of private sector workers, according to the report ‘Workplace Violence Against Government Employees, 1994–2011 (NCJ 241349)’ released by the U.S. Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). The April 2013 report, part of the ‘Violence in Workplace Series,’ is available at

The report – written by BJS statistician Erika Harrell – found that local, county, state and federal government employees experienced 18.0 nonfatal violent victimizations in the workplace per 1,000 employees age 16 or older compared to 5.2 nonfatal violent victimizations per 1,000 private-sector employees. Among other findings of the report covering the years from 2002 to 2011:

  • Government employees made up 41 percent of victims of nonfatal workplace violence although they accounted for only 16 percent of all employed people age 16 or older.
  • Government employees who were male were more likely than female government employees to face a stranger during an incident in the workplace, 68 percent to 38 percent.
  • The average annual rate of simple assaults in the workplace against government employees was also more than three times that of private sector employees, 18.9 per 1,000 to 4.6 per 1,000.
  • Government employees at state, county, and local levels suffered 96 percent of workplace violence against government employees while only making up 81 percent of the total government workforce.
  • Government employees working in law enforcement and security personnel occupations experienced 56 percent of workplace violence against government employees.
  • Government employees reported 8.7 violent victimizations per 1,000 employees compared to 4.7 violent victimizations per 1,000 employees in the private sector.
  • Government employees and private-sector employees were equally likely to be injured due to workplace violence.

In contrast to the rates of workplace violence, incidents of workplace homicide were much greater in the private sector than in government, as only about 1 in 5 victims of workplace homicide was a government employee in 2011. Serious violent crime accounted for a larger percentage of workplace violence against private sector employees than government employees, 25 percent to 15 percent. Government employees were also less likely than private sector employees to face an offender with a weapon, 12 percent to 20 percent.

The report – based on the BJS National Crime Victimization Survey and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) – includes information on type of workplace violence, violence by occupation, and victim and crime characteristics including sex and race distribution, offender weapon use, and victim injury. More information about the report is available at

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