Violence, Professional Practices and Occupational Health in Social and Health Care Sector

Marita Husso, Senior lecturer, adjunct professor (dos) (project leader)

Tuija Virkki, University researcher

Marianne Notko, Post-doctoral researcher

Helena Hirvonen, Post-doctoral researcher

The background of the project is the notion that Finnish welfare state has lacked means to deal with the problems of violence. The social and health care sector could in principle be in a key position in identifying and helping the parties of violence, yet interventions in violent practices are actually rare. Even violence against the employees of the social and health care sectors and conceguences of violence for occupational health are systematically downplayed. Hence, the high level of violence is an important problem itself, but the essential problem is also the lack of recognition of the existence of the phenomenon of violence and lack of interventions in it.

We ask (1) what kinds of professional practices of encountering and intervening in violence exist in the social and health services? (2) How does the vulnerability of human beings figure in the practices of encountering violence in social and health care services? (3) What kinds of possibilities and obstacles there are for more effective violence interventions and promotion of occupational health in the social and health care organizations?

The project (1) takes the practices that tie subjects and objects together as a point of departure, and (2) takes seriously the fact that human beings are fragile and vulnerable to violence, which means that violent practices always involve power and social suffering. The theoretical toolbox for the study consists also views of violence studies, professional and social practices, affective and gendered practices and occupational health.