Retail assaults targeted
People who assault retail workers will face tougher penalties in NSW.
A bill introduced to parliament by the NSW Government brings in three new offences into the Crimes Act 1900, making it an offence to:
assault, throw a missile at, stalk, harass or intimidate a retail worker in the course of the worker’s duty, even if no actual bodily harm is caused to the worker, with a maximum penalty of 4 years’ imprisonment
assault a retail worker in the course of the worker’s duty and cause actual bodily harm to the worker, with a maximum penalty of 6 years’ imprisonment
wound or cause grievous bodily harm to a retail worker in the course of the worker’s duty, being reckless as to causing actual bodily harm to the worker or another person, with a maximum penalty of 11 years’ imprisonment
Research from the McKell Institute, commissioned by the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association has found that a staggering 85 per cent of retail workers have been abused or assaulted at work.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, a new definition of ‘essential worker’ emerged to include the people working inside stores and supermarkets, who were subject to increased abuse while on the job.
NSW Labor made an election pledge to address the need for better protections for retail workers in New South Wales.