Council staff have been bitten, kicked and punched as the number of assaults in schools has risen by more than 1,000%, a shocking probe has found.
Assaults reported on staff employed by East Riding of Yorkshire Council have quadrupled from April 2015 to March 2016 to the same period in 2016/17.
Incidents involved staff being subject to aggressive outbursts, biting, kicking, scratching and punching.
The shocking figures also reveal the incidents in schools have risen from just two in 15/16 to 21 the following year.
Overall figures show a rise in assaults from nine in 2015/16 to 35 in 2016/17.
Incidents occurred in areas such as schools, parking enforcement, street cleansing and youth and family support.
Unions have called for greater protection and support for workers.
Unison regional organiser Robin Symonds said it had seen an increase in incidents of violence and aggression towards local authority employees over recent years, “which correlates to the reduction in central government funding and consequent cuts to employee numbers”. Public sector workers are the public face of all local councils and all too often bear the brunt of frustration and anger of service users whose expectations remain the same even though their council’s budget has been drastically reduced over the last seven years.
“Unison members report that this is a problem affecting all council workers – from refuse collectors receiving abuse because they now empty bins less frequently to teaching assistants whose numbers have been cut whilst class sizes have increased.
“Often incidents go unreported and the true extent of the problem is almost certainly even worse than it appears. The real worry though is that the problem is likely to worsen as austerity is set to continue”.
Senior organiser for public services for Yorkshire and North Derbyshire, Desiree Wilburn, said: “These people are doing the best they can to deliver a service or to help people, however, there are individuals out there with mental health problems or frustrations, and our members seem to be on the receiving end.
“This is not isolated to local authorities, this is happening in the NHS, police, and other organisations too.
“We are hoping the Protect the Protectors Bill will go through and have an impact. It cannot continue like this.”
East Riding of Yorkshire Council were unable to comment about the increase in assaults on staff.