Two paramedics bashed overnight amid calls for tougher laws

 theage.com.au  5/18/2018 1:39:00 AM 

Amanda Warren, a mother of four, and Caris Underwood had been facing jail time but Judge Cotterell upheld the women's appeal and ruled the pair had made "enormous" efforts to turn their lives around.

A Melbourne paramedic who was allegedly punched in the face and spat at by an intoxicated man in the early hours of Thursday has added to the growing number of paramedics calling for change.

The senior officer who was assaulted in Epping, in Melbourne's north, about 12.40am on Thursday suffered back and facial injuries after being called to a house.

A 22-year-old man reportedly fell unconscious after drinking excessively and shouted abuse and spat at paramedics after he was woken.

"I'm probably a little numb in some respects," the 44-year-old, who wanted to remain anonymous, told 3AW Radio on Friday.

"I hear this young fellow wanted to apologise and was hoping to give me that apology in person. I'm not sure how I feel about that just yet.

"It's great he does feel remorseful, but I think someone who has had a series of operations and is still not back to work, if one of us loses an eye or is pushed down the stairs and acquires a brain injury, the apology is beside the point."

He said he had felt threatened while on the job in the past but had never been injured before, telling the program he felt anxious and nervous going back to work.

"We cannot even get to a point where this is normalised in any way," he said.

"Paramedics are exposed to occupational violence almost every shift and that has been worsening year upon year since I became an ambo. It's on a continuum... we are having to de-escalate more jobs than not. That's sad."

He said he wouldn't weigh into the debate about whether there should be absolute mandatory sentences for offenders who assault paramedics but expressed concern about the message Judge Cotterell's decision sent to the public.

"I think paramedics believe there were mandatory sentences and when we were injured they'd be applied," he said.

"But what I can say is recently we are seeing a trend towards paramedics feeling terribly let down."

"The sentence Paul Judd will have to live with is far greater and much, much longer than anything these two woman have had to endure."

Assistant secretary of the Ambulance Union Danny Hill said the latest attacks reinforced the need for tightened legislation.

"These latest attacks highlight that the message isn't getting through to some people despite a massive public campaign. 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," she said.

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