Analysis

Will a change to the law on violence against emergency workers stop assaults?

Emergency nurses need training to deal with aggressive patients, experts say
Hospital_violence

Emergency nurses need training to deal with aggressive patients, experts say

A new law giving harsher punishments to people who attack emergency workers has been passed by parliament.

The Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act received royal assent in September.

It means the maximum prison sentence for a common assault will double from six months to one year if the victim is a fire-fighter, police officer or NHS worker.

If the offence is more serious than common assault – which covers, for example, fear of attack and attacks that do not lead to serious injury, such as spitting – and the victim is an emergency worker, this will be classed as an aggravating factor when offenders are sentenced. This could lead to stiffer penalties and fewer suspended sentences.

The move has been welcomed by unions. Unison said it

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