Bullying and harassment still a problem in asylum seeker centres

Photo: Depositphotos.com

Three-quarters of staff working in asylum accommodation centres have had to deal with unwanted behaviour by residents, while three in 10 have experienced bullying and intimidation by colleagues.

The responses to a survey of 3,000 staff suggests condition have deteriorated in the four years since the last similar exercise, when more than half reported inappropriate behaviour from residents and a quarter had trouble from co-workers.

“Unwanted behaviour affects people’s enjoyment of their work and creates a lot of stress,” the chairman of the COA’s governing board, Milo Schoenmaker, said.

“It’s unacceptable that colleagues who in many cases already have to contend with a high workload are bothered by this.”

The most common complaints are of intimidation, verbal abuse and threats by residents, or being bullied and excluded by colleagues or line managers. The proportion of staff reporting harassment by colleagues is twice the national average.

The survey also found that 84% of the 5,000 COA staff were satisfied or very satisfied with their work in the asylum accommodation system.

However, staff absence is high. A year ago, when accommodation centres were struggling with overcrowding, NRC reported 9% of staff were absent, rising to one in three at the main reception centre for asylum seekers in Ter Apel.

Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl.

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation