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.

ACEP is talking to legislators as part of the 2024 Leadership and Advocacy Conference to ensure that violence against emergency physicians and care teams is not accepted as "just part of the job." 

According to a January 2024 poll of ACEP members, 91% of emergency physicians said that they, or a colleague, were a victim of violence in the past year. In a 2022 ACEP survey, 85% of emergency physicians said they believe the rate of violence experienced in emergency departments has increased over the past five years.


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.

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

2024 Member Poll Read Their Stories


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,” H.R. 2663/S.1176), a bill introduced by Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) and 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.

ACEP also strongly supports the bipartisan “Safety from Violence for Healthcare Employees (SAVE) Act (H.R. 2584/S.2768) introduced by Reps. Larry Bucshon (R-IN) and Madeleine Dean (D-PA), and Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Marco Rubio (R-FL). The SAVE Act establishes federal criminal penalties for violence against health care workers, similar to those in place for airline and airport workers.

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 can 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. 

Public Statements

Emergency Physicians Call on Congress to Help Stop Violence in Health Care (March 2024)

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)

Poll: Emergency Department Violence (September 2022)

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