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Paramedic Attacked By 9-Year-Old Boy

Associated Press

July 11, 2011

AUSTRALIAUNION officials say they are struggling to find new ways to prevent assaults on ambulance officers following a weekend attack on a female paramedic by a nine-year-old boy.

A Department of Community Safety spokeswoman confirmed the paramedic suffered a cut to the head after being kicked by the child while attempting to treat a 21-year-old with a broken foot at a Bundamba skate park at about 3pm on Sunday.

The injury did not require hospital treatment and the incident was referred to police.

However the DCS spokeswoman said she understood the child would not face charges as a result of his age. The attack comes as figures provided by the department reveal assaults on paramedics have climbed from 107 in 2008-09 to 229 in 2010-11.

United Voice Ambulance Union co-ordinator Jeanette Temperley said although attacks on paramedics by children were rare, being assaulted while on the job was increasing.

Ms Temperley said attending to cases involving alcohol, drugs and mentally disturbed people still posed the greatest risk.

“It happens and I think it’s probably getting worse,” she said.

“You wouldn’t have expected a nine-year-old child though.”

Ms Temperley said QAS paramedics had been provided with self defence training aimed at avoiding potentially dangerous situations and added she was unsure what more could be done to ensure on-the-job safety.

“I know capsicum spray was mentioned years ago but do we really want ambulance officers having to carry things like that?” she said.

“What’s next? We have units wearing flak vests?”

Ms Temperley said while tougher sentences for those who assault paramedics might help, the new measures were unlikely to have an immediate impact.

“I think that’s obviously something that needs to be looked at,” she said.

“I think it wouldn’t be a bad thing but as to whether or not it’s really going to make any difference, only time will tell.

“It’s sad isn’t it when they’re in one of the most trusted professions and they have to be worried about their own safety.”