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Preventing violence against emergency workers

Emergency workers often face challenging and violent situations in their everyday work. This can have profound physical, mental and behavioural consequences.

The Emergency Worker Harm Prevention campaign aimed to raise awareness that violence against emergency workers is never acceptable, no matter the situation.

The very nature of emergency services work means that providing a safe working environment is critical. That is why we have laws to protect them from harm.

Changes to the law

Since October 2018, Victorian laws make injuring an emergency worker a category 1 offence under the Sentencing Act 1991.

Emergency workers include:

  • police
  • paramedics
  • doctors and nurses delivering or supporting emergency care
  • firefighters
  • prison officers

Under these laws, courts must impose a custodial sentence. The court will not be able to sentence offenders to a community correction order or other non-custodial outcome except in very limited circumstances.

These laws apply in addition to the statutory minimum sentences introduced for injuring an emergency worker in 2014.

If there are special reasons and the court does not have to impose the predetermined jail term (of at least 6 months), then the court will still have to impose a jail term of some length.