September 25, 2014 8:37 pm
Updated: September 26, 2014 12:28 pm

Stabbing of Regina social worker highlights risks of the job

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REGINA – More details are emerging about a stabbing that sent one woman to hospital and another behind bars facing attempted murder charges.

The victim of the attack on September 17th was a 49-year-old social worker in Regina.

According to the owner of The Mercury Café & Grill, Chris Plumb, the victim sought help at his café just before 10:00 p.m.

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“We’re sitting here, having drinks on the patio for a private birthday party and a woman came from down the road holding her arms,” he recalled. “We didn’t realize until she got here that she was asking for help.”

Plumb says he and his staff helped the woman while they waited for police and emergency crews to arrive.

“She was in a panic, right. She was a little traumatized at the time when she came in,” he added. “Once we got a look at her you could tell she’d been stabbed. Numerous times, at least five from what I could tell.”

EMS brought the woman to hospital with serious injuries and police later located and arrested Colleen Piapot.

The 21-year-old is now facing attempted murder charges.

The woman was a social worker and according to Plumb told staff at the café she’d been attacked at her home by a client.

“Something went south and the client got mad, grabbed a butcher knife and started swinging,” he recounted.

The social services ministry doesn’t comment on a particular case, but Assistant Deputy Minister of Disability of Programs Bob Wihlidal, said protocols are in place regarding a client visiting a social worker’s residence.

“Yes there would be protocols and policies in place around relationships between clients and workers,” he added. “No, I wouldn’t say workers do work out of their houses.”

Wihlidal adds that safety is a top priority and while the risks for employees is a reality, violent interactions are relatively rare.

“For example, for income assistance, we have about 65,000 client interactions every month and since 2012, so the past two and a half years, there have been 38 incidents of violence and those were threats of violence.”

Bob Bymoen is the president of the Saskatchewan Government and General Employees’ Union and said the attack is a reminder about the risks social workers face on the job.

He added more needs to be done to ensure employee’s safety.

“The ministry does have some policies and protocols, there is some trainings, but as budgets get strained, training is get difficult,” he explained. “That’s why one of the things I’ve asked the government on behalf of the employees over the years is more opportunities for training.”

All reported violent incident are reviewed, but Plumb says he’s just grateful he and his staff were there to help when the outcome could have turned out a lot worse.

“She came to the right place where people do care and want to help.”

Piapot’s next court date is set for October 1st.

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