The safety and health of teachers is a priority of ETUCE. ETUCE believes a school should be a safe, healthy and propitious place for teaching and learning. Schools are the workplace of teachers, but first and foremost they are educational institutions for young students. Occupational health and safety problems can thus be harmful not only for the workforce (teachers and other staff in education), but can indirectly harm the pupils and put at risk the quality and efficiency of the education provided.

Related topics


Third-party violence is a form of violence and harassment. The European Agency for Occupational Safety and Health defines third party violence as" physical violence, verbal aggression, or the threat of physical violence where the aggressor is not a work colleague, e.g. the person, customer, client or patient receiving the goods or services". Violence towards a teacher from e.g. a student or parent would thus be considered to be third party violence.

As such it is an occupational health and safety hazard, covered by EU legislation (Directive 89/391/EEC). The Multi-Sectoral Guidelines to Tackle Third-Party Violence and Harassment Related to Work explain further that third-party violence could be one-off incidents or more systematic patterns of behaviour, by an individual or group, originating from the actions or behaviour of clients, customers, patients, service users, pupils or parents, member of the public or the service provider. It can be motivated by emotional reasons, personal dislike, prejudices on grounds of racial or ethnic origin, religion and belief, disability, age, sexual orientation and body image. It can constitute criminal offences aimed at the employee and his/her reputation or the property of the employer or client which may be organised or opportunistic and which require the intervention of public authorities. It can deeply affect the personality, dignity and integrity of the victims and occur at the work place, in the public space of in the private environment and is work related.

On 30 September 2010, the European Social Partners from the education, local governments, hospital, private security and commerce sectors, represented by ETUCE, EFEE, EPSU, CEMR, UNI-EUROPA, HOSPEEM, COESS and EUROCOMMERCE, signed the Multi-sectoral Guidelines to Tackle Third-Party Violence and Harassment Related to Work.


In this project, ETUCE and EFEE examined to what extent third-party violence have been addressed in the education sector in Europe. The social partners in education wanted to gather good practices on codes of conduct on measures preventing third-party violence in schools in the different EU/EFTA countries. Moreover, ETUCE and EFEE wish to delineate the action of teacher unions and education employers on measures preventing third-party violence and to support their work on this issue.

According to EU and national law, both employers and employees have obligations in the field of health and safety. It is the employers' duty to ensure health and safety of employees in every aspect related to work. As a joint approach to health and safety has proved to be most successful, employers are also obliged to consult employees and/or worker representatives and to allow workers to be involved in all questions regarding health and safety at work.


  • identify in an online survey national and regional strategies and actions (best practices) of social partners in education on preventing and tackling third-party violence with the aim to create a learning/working environment that promotes democratic values, taking into account gender specific issues as well as issues arising due to different strands of discrimination (age, race, minorities, disability, religious belief, LGBT); an online exhibition was created to present the best practices. According to previously agreed criteria, the advisory group will bestow an award upon three best practices;
  • further support the inclusion of psychosocial hazards (focusing on third-party violence and harassment) in national and regional collective agreements in the education sector;
  • support teacher unions and education employers to become more pro-active in their national social dialogue structures when reducing and preventing third-party violence and harassment, in particular as regards dealing with and setting up strategies on Health & Safety in schools;
  • prepare the debate on this topic in the European sectoral social dialogue committee in education with the aim to compile a joint report for the education sector on the issue as stipulated in the multi-sectoral guidelines; this will help to further strengthen the relationship between the Social Partners in education at European and national level;
  • compile a practical implementation guide on the third-party violence guidelines for the education sector in English, French, German, Spanish (+ Russian) with the aim to apply the guidelines at grassroot (school) level and to ensure the sustainability and long-term effect of the project outcome; a one-page summary in 25 EU languages (+ Russian) will also be made available.

Advisory Group

040The project "Social Partners in education concerned about Violence in Schools: How to Prevent and Mitigate Third-Party Violence and Harassment in Schools" was lead by an Advisory Group(AdvG) that guided the project implementation and meet at regular intervals.

The AdvG guided the project implementation and meet at regular intervals throughout the project implementation period. Next to a member of the ETUCE staff, the Advisory Group was be composed of experts from five teacher unions as well as two members of the European Federation of Education Employers (EFEE).

Most of the members of the AdvG have already proven their expertise and commitment to the work of ETUCE in previous projects. The advisory group members supported the project not only with their expertise and knowledge on third-party violence but help to develop the brief online survey, identify the three case study schools and establish contacts with these schools and their respective teachers. They all participated in one of the case studies and actively contribute to one regional seminar as well as the final project conference. They also selected the best practice examples for the award ceremony at the final conference.

Unsa Educationlogo solidarnosclararforbundetEFEE logoNASUWT NEW     CCOO

The Advisory Group consisted of :

-Anders Eklund, Lärarförbundet, Sweden
-Hélène Hemet, UNSA, France
-Jennifer Moses NASUWT, United-Kingdom
-Monika Konczyk, Solidarnosc, Poland
-Patricio Perez, FECCOO, Spain
-Paulina Tervahartiala, FEEE
-Stéphane Vanoirbeck, FEEE


EU flagThis project has been carried out with the financial support of the European Commission