Tough penalties to protect essential frontline workers

News story
The Criminal Code Amendment (COVID-19 Response) Bill 2020 provides higher penalties for assaulting and threatening public officers.
Nurses in scrubs - cropped

Tough new penalties to protect frontline workers from COVID-19 related assaults or threats have passed both Houses of Parliament.

The Criminal Code Amendment (COVID-19 Response) Bill 2020 provides higher penalties for assaulting and threatening public officers in circumstances of actual or threatened exposure to COVID-19. This includes public officers and other officers delivering frontline services such as police officers, doctors, nurses, paramedics, bus drivers and prison officers.

Someone convicted of assaulting a frontline worker where they know they have COVID-19 or create a belief, suspicion or fear that they have COVID-19 will now face up to 10 years in jail.

 Threats to injure, endanger or harm a frontline worker by exposing them to COVID-19 now carries a higher maximum penalty of seven years' imprisonment.

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Page reviewed 26 July 2020