Violence against paramedics has been described as a serious, but vastly underreported, problem with the potential for significant physical and psychological harm. When surveyed, a concerning majority of paramedics across jurisdictions disclose regularly experiencing violence during their work, but features of organizational culture within the profession conspire to downplay its significance and stigmatize reporting. This makes understanding the scope of the problem and developing solutions to mitigate the risk exceptionally challenging. For the past year, we have been working with a large, urban, sophisticated paramedic service in central Ontario to develop a culturally-accepted, user-friendly reporting process to track incidents of violence against paramedics. The External Violence Incident Reporting (EVIR) process is a novel, point-of-event reporting mechanism that gathers quantitative and qualitative data about incidents of violence perpetrated against paramedics in Peel Region, Ontario.
The study team will conduct a retrospective review of these reports to explore the prevalence of violence in the study site and identify sources of conflict that underpin incidents of reported violence. Using a convergent parallel mixed methods approach, we will use descriptive statistics and rates to describe the prevalence of violence and qualitative content analysis to identify themes of contributing conflicts. Collectively, these preliminary results will be used to inform a larger, prospective study on the prevalence, risk factors, and health consequences of violence against paramedics that is currently underway in Ontario.