Communities need to be able to rely on emergency services

June 20, 2018 |

Communities need to be able to rely on emergency services for support – Community legal submission on the impact mandatory jail sentences on distressed people and their families

“On 22 May 2018 the Andrews’ Government announced it would introduce laws that would mean anyone who injures an emergency service worker or police officer on duty would receive a jail sentence.

Less than a month later he is planning to introduce these laws without consulting the community.

No one should be injured at work. Our concern is that instead of making emergency workers safer – the proposed laws will put more workers in harms way. We have heard from nurses, paramedics and social workers who say if these laws come in they will be less inclined to call for emergency services for help.

It is not just workers who are worried.

Families who rely on emergency service workers and police in a time of crisis – when their loved one is experiencing psychosis or is out of control on alcohol or drugs – are worried about what this means for them. Families do not want to call for help if it risks putting their children in jail. Families experiencing domestic violence are already reluctant to call for help, these laws would make them even more reluctant.

The Fitzroy Legal Service wrote a comprehensive submission on what the laws will mean for our community. You can read it here: Submission on the impact mandatory jail sentences on distressed people and their families (pdf)