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Offenders who assault a retail employee in the course of a worker’s duty may face up to six years imprisonment, while an 11-year maximum sentence has been set for those who wound or cause grievous bodily harm to a retail worker. | Source: Shutterstock
Offenders who assault a retail employee in the course of a worker’s duty may face up to six years imprisonment, while an 11-year maximum sentence has been set for those who wound or cause grievous bodily harm to a retail worker. | Source: Shutterstock

NSW Government tackles crime against retail employees

Retail employees in New South Wales – including staff at jewellery stores – have been granted new legal protections by the NSW Government.

The Crimes Legislation Amendment (Assaults on Retail Workers) Bill 2023 will implement three new offences into the Crimes Act.

The reforms make 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. Offenders face a maximum penalty of four years behind bars.

Offenders who assault a retail employee in the course of a worker’s duty may face up to six years imprisonment, while an 11-year maximum sentence has been set for those who wound or cause grievous bodily harm to a retail worker.

Paul Zahra, CEO of the Australian Retailers Association | Photo: Forbes Australia
Paul Zahra, CEO of the Australian Retailers Association | Photo: Forbes Australia
“Actions speak louder than words, and we’re extremely pleased that the NSW Government has listened to our views and the needs of retail workers and is taking strong action to deter these violent incidents and keep retail staff safe.”
Paul Zahra, Australian Retail Association

NSW Premier Chris Minns said that retail workers deserved better protection.

"Everyone should be treated with decency and respect while at work. There is no excuse for assaulting anyone, particularly not someone who is doing their job,” Minns said.

“This bill reflects our government’s commitment to support our workers and ensure their safety in the workplace.”

Research from the McKell Institute found that 85 per cent of retail workers have experienced abuse or assault at work.

Australian Retail Association CEO Paul Zahra said retail employee abuse escalated during the COVID pandemic.

“We’ve seen a frightening escalation in retail crime, where it is now becoming a matter of life-or-death for workers simply trying to do their job,” Zahra said.

“Actions speak louder than words, and we’re extremely pleased that the NSW Government has listened to our views and the needs of retail workers and is taking strong action to deter these violent incidents and keep retail staff safe.

“We’re mindful that the majority of customers are respectful and do the right thing, but the small minority are making retail a dangerous environment to work in.”

In the past year, the SA Government introduced a maximum penalty of five years for those convicted of assault against a retail worker.

More reading
Retailers demand more protection, New Zealand sales struggling
Cost-of-living pressures cause for concern for jewellery retailers
NZ Government extends support to retailers dealing with theft and damage
ACCC demands legal reform citing harm to retailers on social media

 











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