Feedback for review of penalties for police and emergency staff assaults closes

The final chance to provide feedback to the Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council on its review of penalties for assaults on police and other frontline emergency service workers, corrective services officers and other public officers, has closed.

QSAC will use the information provided in submissions and consultation sessions to inform the development of its recommendations in response to Terms of Reference issued by the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath in December 2019.

QSAC member Queensland Police Service Assistant Commissioner Cheryl Scanlon said submissions from individuals, government departments, employee unions, legal stakeholders and others have highlighted the importance of investing in strategies to reduce the risks of people being assaulted at work, and ensuring our criminal justice system responds effectively when an assault is reported.

“The Council received written submissions and held meetings with stakeholder organisations in this latest round of consultation and I would like to thank everyone for taking the time to meet with us and share their views,” Ms Scanlon said.

“This is a very complex and specialised reference, and we have been very fortunate to have such a high level of community and industry feedback.

“While the working environment within each industry is unique, there is a common concern across all industries to ensure their workers are protected from assaults, and that the seriousness of people being assaulted who are just trying to do their job is reflected under the criminal law.”

Ms Scanlon said views about who is a ‘frontline worker’ had also changed since last year when the Council had first called for submissions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


“We didn’t think that we would be talking about people working in our supermarkets and pharmacies, or truck drivers delivering supplies, as ‘essential workers’, but COVID has changed the way we think about what roles are really ‘essential’,” she said.

Ms Scanlon said that the Council would now be turning its attention to producing the final report which is due to the Attorney-General by 31 August 2020.

“The final report is a culmination of several months of exhaustive research and investigation by the Council into assaults on frontline workers.”

“We will be providing a number of recommendations to the Attorney-General and advising whether our current legal responses to assaults on these workers are appropriate, with particular focus on the current offence and sentencing framework.”

Submissions will be made available prior to the final report being publicly released in September 2020.

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