Half of vets suffer online abuse

Half of vets suffer online abuse

One in two vets working in clinical practice experienced online abuse last year, it has been revealed.

New statistics from Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey show that online abuse is nearly as common as abuse in person, while almost half of vets who experienced online abuse had experienced abusive language (46%), while one in three (33%) experienced trolling.

As part of their new ‘Respect your vet team – end abuse’ campaign the BVA is encouraging animal owners to ‘think before you type’ and consider the impact that harassment, trolling and unfair reviews can have on veterinary staff.

BVA President Justine Shotton said: “The current pressures on vet teams are immense and it’s simply unacceptable that their jobs should be made even harder by abuse from clients, either online or in person.

“We’re very aware that a visit to the vet may be an anxious and uncertain time for animal owners, particularly when the prognosis is poor or the necessary treatment is costly, but it is absolutely unacceptable to take these frustrations out on veterinary staff. I would ask all owners to think before they type and consider whether their online comments are fair, respectful and courteous.

“Most clients are cooperative and grateful for the care their animals receive but a small minority are creating an intolerable environment for veterinary professionals in person and online.

“I know from experience the huge impact that a single aggressive or intimidating interaction with a client can have on your mental wellbeing. When incidents mount up it is no surprise that they can affect our sense of job satisfaction and ultimately drive skilled veterinary staff out of the profession.”

As part of its new campaign BVA is releasing a toolkit with new resources to support Team Vet in protecting staff and limiting the frequency and impact of abuse from clients. These include new practical tips on how to protect veterinary staff from online abuse, downloadable posters and graphics and a series of blogs.

BVA is also working with Vetlife to tackle the effect of abuse on mental health and wellbeing and further resources will be added later this year.