The Australian College of Nursing (ACN) has condemned the weak sentence handed to a man in Melbourne who dragged a nurse down a laneway and pinned her to the ground.
The offender, Jackson Williams, was today handed a two-and-a-half-year community corrections order and ordered to undertake 200 hours of community service work.
ACN Chief Executive Officer Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN said that nurses and women had a right to feel safe when travelling to and from work.
“Many nurses working shifts will begin or end their day at all hours, and they all have the right to feel safe,” Adjunct Professor Ward said.
“This shows that there is still a long way to go to deliver on that right.”
Adjunct Professor Ward said that the impact on the victim was life-changing but this was not necessarily reflected in the sentence.
“Reports suggest the victim has since moved interstate and is unable to return to work, but this sentencing will be difficult to reconcile with her experience and her fears,” Adjunct Professor Ward said.
Adjunct Professor Ward said that the sentencing was out of line with community expectations of how violent offences against women should be treated.
“Events over recent years in Melbourne have shown that the community expects better from our government, from our legal institutions and from members of society in their actions,” Adjunct Professor Ward said.
“To see this type of assault still receive a slap on the wrist is an insult to nurses and women everywhere.”
Adjunct Professor Ward noted that nurses also must deal with violence in the workplace on a regular basis, and that this should not extend to travelling to or from work.
“It is bad enough for nurses when they are managing patients who are aggressive and violent at work but to have violence continue to be tolerated and reinforce toxic masculinity is never ok,” Adjunct Professor Ward said.
“It is time for change.”