Violence in the Emergency Department

Violence in the emergency department is unacceptable. ACEP is working to strengthen protections for physicians, care teams and patients by increasing public awareness, advocating for policy changes and developing resources to help professionals mitigate and respond to these incidents.

According to a 2022 ACEP survey, 85% of emergency physicians believe the rate of violence experienced in emergency departments has increased over the past five years.


Emergency physicians strongly support policies that would establish criminal penalties for assailants and strengthen workplace prevention programs for employees.

Emergency physicians’ support has led to the introduction of the “Workplace Violence Prevention Act for Health Care and Social Service Workers,” (S. 4182), a bill introduced by Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) that calls on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to require health care and social service employers to create and implement workplace violence prevention plans.

Emergency physicians can also advocate within their own workplace using ACEP's sample checklist of safety and violence prevention measures that they can ask their workplace about to understand which are in place. It draws from existing ACEP policy and new requirements from The Joint Commission on measures hospitals must have in place. 


Attacks on frontline health care workers are becoming more frequent and emergency physicians are leading the call for real solutions by sharing their story and calling for solutions.

The ACEP and the Emergency Nurses Association have partnered since 2018 on the No Silence on ED Violence campaign to raise awareness, advocate for policy changes and strengthen protections for frontline workers.

Emergency physicians who have been hurt or threatened on the job are speaking out. ACEP encourages any member to share their personal stories. 

No Silence on ED Violence Share Your Story

Communication Resources

Talking Points: Emergency Department Violence

Social Media Resources: Emergency Department Violence

Public Statements

Poll: Emergency Department Violence (September 2022)

ACEP and ENA Push for Swift Passage of ED Violence Legislation (May 2022)

Emergency Physician Residents and Health Care Workers at High Risk of Physical or Verbal Assault, New Analysis Shows (June 2021)

Emergency Physicians and Emergency Nurses Unite to Stop ED Violence (November 2019)

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