Zero tolerance to assaults on paramedics
Stephen Bennett Member for Burnett The most recent data available shows that in the 2014-15 financial year, there were 12 assaults on paramedics in the Wide Bay
LOCAL paramedics and Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett are sending out the message that violence towards emergency services personnel will not be tolerated.
Mr Bennett met with paramedics to throw his support behind the increasingly popular social media campaign #ZeroTolerence, a nation-wide drive to protect emergency services personnel.
The campaign follows a significant increase in assaults against paramedics and other emergency personnel across the state.
Assaults on paramedics in the Wide Bay alone doubled in the past year.
“The most recent data available shows that in the 2014-15 financial year, there were 12 assaults on paramedics in the Wide Bay,” he said.
State-wide, reported assaults on paramedics throughout Queensland had jumped by almost 20% in one year, with 247 incidents being recorded during the 2014-15 financial year.
“That’s just what has been reported, but that number could be a lot higher as I’m hearing some assaults go unreported by ambulances officers.”
He said there was a need for greater protection of health workers and while in government had introduced a Safe Night Out Strategy to stamp out the violence.
“As part of the former LNP Government’s Safe Night Out Strategy to crack down on violence, if you commit an aggravated serious assault on a nurse, doctor, paramedic – or any health professional – you could be hit with up to 14 years imprisonment,” he said.
Mr Bennett encouraged others to get on board.
“This is about ensuring our dedicated, hard-working emergency service personnel get to go home safely to their families at the end of their shift,” he said.
“Paramedics are being verbally or physically abused on a daily basis.
“These incidents prevent them from doing their job of ultimately saving lives.
“Paramedics and other emergency service personnel should be able to get on with their job without feeling that their own safety is threatened.
“There’s no excuse for verbally or physically abusing those who are just trying to help. The violence has to stop.”
Mr Bennett said he supported the fast-track a trial of body-worn cameras for Queensland paramedics.
“The rise in violence towards our health workers is concerning... it’s happening in our hospitals, it’s happening on the front line for police, and it’s happening on the front line for our paramedic workers.”
He said GoPros would provide evidence of assaults and make people think twice about throwing punches at paramedics.