Prevention and Management of Violence and Aggression Training?

What is PMVA (Prevention and Management of Violence and Aggression) Training?

James Hourihan, Author

Dealing with aggressive or violent behaviour can pose a significant challenge. This is especially true in sectors like healthcare, social work, education, and security. PMVA, or Prevention and Management of Violence and Aggression, training is designed to equip staff with the skills and knowledge needed to safely navigate and de-escalate such situations.

When people use the term PMVA training (also known as PAMOVA), they are often referring to several different things. The term PMVA is used primarily by NHS Trusts historically to describe any training which includes restraint and behaviour management. In general terms, PMVA training can be three distinctive things.

1. It is a generic title of training courses delivering the Prevention and Management of Violence and Aggression

2. It is the name (or part of) the name of different commercial training organisations.

3. It is a generic name used by organisations who are looking for training which includes prevention and management of violence and aggression.

Health, social and educational settings pose their own unique set of challenges and risks that PMVA aims to address. In this article, we aim to shed light on exactly what PMVA training is, who can benefit from it, and why it is an essential approach to conflict and difficult behaviour.

What is PMVA Training?

The 2022 NHS Staff Survey outlined that “14.7% of NHS staff who completed the survey have self-reported that they have experienced at least one incident of physical violence from patients, service users, relatives or other members of the public in the last 12 months.”

Prevention and Management of Violence and Aggression, also referred to as PMVA, is focused on equipping staff with the necessary skills to identify, prevent, and manage aggressive or violent behaviour in the workplace. This includes both verbal and physical aggression. PMVA training uses a range of frameworks, practical exercises, and real-world case studies to train staff in identifying triggers of aggressive behaviour, employing a number of de-escalation techniques, and utilising restrictive physical interventions (RPIs) as an unavoidable last resort.

Key Components of PMVA Training

Awareness and Understanding

The first step in preventing violent or aggressive behaviour is understanding its root causes. Understanding the reasons behind such actions, and spotting early signs of aggression can be a preventative measure in itself. PMVA training helps you identify triggers that could lead to confrontational situations, enabling professionals to intervene quickly and effectively.

Communication Skills

Effective communication is paramount when dealing with a potentially aggressive individual. PMVA training includes methods on how to recognise non-verbal communication, as well as how to communicate clearly, assertively, and empathetically to de-escalate tense situations. Tying these learnings in with trauma-informed practices gives staff the tools to fully understand a patient or student’s frustrations, and effectively tailor their approach to the person. 

Physical Techniques

While the focus is on prevention, de-escalation and restraint reduction, PMVA training also teaches physical intervention techniques. These are intended as a last resort when all else fails to ensure safety and it’s important to understand the legal and ethical considerations when implementing physical intervention. The Timian Programme advice is that restrictive physical interventions, or RPIs, should only be used if there is an immediate risk of harm to either themselves or another person.

Legal and Ethical Framework

PMVA training educates staff about the legal implications of managing violent or aggressive behaviour, ensuring that any interventions are compliant with current laws and regulations. Health, social and educational organisations must follow strict guidelines that promote safe practices, and reduce the overall risks associated with violent or aggressive behaviour. 

The prevention and management of violent or aggressive behaviour is a somewhat simplistic and old-fashioned approach to the management of challenging behaviour. Our person-centred approach to PMVA gives the education, health, and social care sectors a wider understanding of the strategies, tools and confidence to navigate such situations. All our challenging behaviour courses are Bild ACT certified and contribute to a more secure, safer workplace for everyone, reducing the risk of harm and improving staff confidence. 


If you’re looking to create a safe, supportive environment for your staff and the people they support, book one of our BILD Act Training Courses today to get started, or call 0800 987 4075 for more information. 

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