Ambos assaulted at station

The assault of two paramedics at Caroline Springs train station adds weight to growing calls for mandatory jail sentences for those who attack emergency services workers.

An Ambulance Victoria spokeswoman said that a male paramedic was punched five times in the knee, thigh and abdomen during the May 17 incident. His female colleague was kicked in the leg when they attended to a man in his 60s who had collapsed at Caroline Springs train station.

“The man was intoxicated and became abusive and threatened paramedics,” the spokeswoman said.

“As he was taken to hospital, he punched the male paramedic. At hospital, he again threatened paramedics, spat at them and kicked the female paramedic.

“Both paramedics continued their shift after the incident.”

The incident was among the most recent in a spate of attacks on paramedics, driving calls for tighter laws so that people who attack paramedics can not use intoxication or being under the influence of drugs as an excuse to dodge jail time.

Under current laws, offenders are given a mandatory six months jail time for assaulting
an emergency service worker, unless they provide “special reasons” why they shouldn’t be jailed.

Ambulance Victoria chief executive Tony Walker said laws needed to “send a strong message to the community about violence against paramedics”.

“We have worked hard in the past two years to make significant changes at Ambulance Victoria to ensure that the safety of our hard-working paramedics is our number one priority,” he said earlier this month.

Danny Hill, of Ambulance Employees Australia, said the recent attacks reinforced the need for tougher penalties.

“These latest attacks highlight that the message isn’t getting through to some people despite a massive public campaign,” he said.

“It reinforces the need for strong laws to protect emergency workers – laws that mean if you bash a paramedic you go to jail, no questions asked.”