Laws tightened for ES attacks
Victoria is looking at placing any attack on emergency service workers in the same category as murder and rape.
Cabinet has agreed to have attacks on first responders and prison staff that resulted in injury classified as a category-one offence, which carry mandatory custodial sentences.
It comes less than a week after two women were spared jail time despite being found guilty of a serious assault on paramedics.
The women used special circumstances rules to avoid incarceration.
Police Minister Lisa Neville said that loophole is being closed.
“This is about sending a very strong message — you will see a custodial sentence,” she said.
“You might claim you've been drunk or on drugs, [that] will not allow you out of serving time.”
Category-one offences require a custodial sentence, not a community-based order.
Custodial sentences can include mental health centres.
Ambulance union secretary Steve McGhie says it is an appropriate move.
“They're there to care for people, not there to be used as punching bags and footballs,” he said.
“And if someone takes it upon themselves that that's what they think a paramedic is there for and they can punch them, spit at them, threaten them with knives, threaten them with guns … if they think that's acceptable then I think the full force of the law should come down on them.
“I don't think it will quite fix the problem but it'll certainly go a long way to sending a strong message that when people do take that action of assaulting emergency service workers, and certainly frontline health workers, then there are serious ramifications from that,” he said.