Violence and Agression

by Darren Good and Liz Hudson

Common questions

  1. What is the best way to physically defend myself?
  2. Why is my emotional state important?
  3. What’s the best way to avoid conflict or de-escalate an aggressive situation?
  4. How do I stay calm in a conflict situation?
  5. Where do I stand in terms of the law?
  6. What are the legal rules if I have to defend myself against an elderly person/mentally ill person/child?

 

1. What is the best way to physically defend myself?

First and foremost, if you can possibly do so, run away. Only defend yourself as a last resort. By far the best technique you can use is ‘The Fence’:

  • Adjust your feet so that they are shoulder width apart, with one foot forward and one back. The foot you move back should be the one corresponding to the hand you favour; in other words, if you are right handed you would move your right foot back and your left forward.
  • Extend your arms forward in front of you in a relaxed manner. If you can’t touch your attacker, they can’t touch you!
  • Talk with your hands. Buy time until you can back towards an exit and get away.

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2. Why is my emotional state important?

Your emotional state is vital in conflict resolution because you can’t hope to effectively influence someone else’s behaviour until you can control your own.

  • It is impossible to have positive physiology and not feel good. Open up your body language, smile, exercise; all these things will make you feel good.
  • Always look for the bright side and silver-lining in every situation – whether it be something obvious or merely the knowledge that you have learned.
  • Always congratulate yourself when you succeed and avoid negative self-talk!

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3. What’s the best way to avoid conflict or de-escalate an aggressive situation?

The best ways to avoid conflict are

  • Be observant: if you spot the conflict coming, you have a good chance of being able to calm the situation before it kicks off.
  • Don’t give clients a reason to start conflict; remember that the better you do your job, the happier your clients will be.
  • Build rapport with your clients straight away. It will be harder for a client to kick off and easier for you to calm them down and control them if you have a good rapport with them.

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4. How do I stay calm in a conflict situation?

Below are a couple of good ways to stay calm in a conflict resolution.

  • First of all, you can control your emotional state. Use your peripheral vision and bring yourself down from a panic state to a calm state.
  • Regularly expose yourself to adrenaline. If you can get used to functioning under adrenaline, you will find it much easier to keep your head when things kick off in the workplace.

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5. Where do I stand in terms of the law?

In terms of the law, there is no good excuse for you to be verbally or physically assaulted. Therefore you are legally allowed to do enough to reasonably defend yourself (but no more) in an attacker situation – provided that you can’t get away.

In terms of force, you can use the same amount of force, plus 25 per cent more than your attacker is using against you.

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6. What are the legal rules if I have to defend myself against an elderly person/mentally ill person/child?

In the eyes of the law, everyone is the same in the flash point of a potential assault situation where you have to make the decision to take action to defend yourself. Legally, you may use up to and 25 per cent more force than your attacker in order to defend yourself.

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