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With Us, Not Against Us

Emergency workers are often confronted with violence and aggression from the public, including from patients, their relatives and even bystanders.

Assaults range from kicking, punching and headbutting, to spitting, slapping, biting and verbal abuse.

It is not just those under the influence of alcohol or drugs or those with mental health issues who commit assault – often it is everyday people who find themselves in a stressful situation.

But assaulting emergency workers is never OK.

Jason Killens, chief executive of the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “Ambulance crews are there to help people, but they can’t fight for someone’s life if they’re fighting for their own.

“Our crews might have no choice but to leave a scene if their safety is compromised, and that isn’t helpful for anyone, least of all the patient.

“Verbally abusing our call handlers could also be delaying help.

“A split-second act of violence can have a devastating and long-term impact on our staff, both physically and emotionally.

“The debt of gratitude we owe to our emergency workers has never been greater, so now more than ever, we’re asking the public to treat them with respect.”

What happens when someone assaults an emergency worker? 

Anyone who assaults an emergency worker can expect to face prosecution.

In 2018, the maximum sentence under the Assault on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act was doubled from six months to 12 months in prison.

In 2022, it was doubled again to two years.

How has this impacted our staff? 

Read our below case studies to learn more.  


You can support the campaign on social media by using the hashtag #WithUsNotAgainstUs.

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