Awful sex attack in back of ambulance

A PARAMEDIC has bravely waived her right to anonymity to speak out about a sex attack by a patient.

Lizzie Smith, 25, was assaulted on duty while doing medical checks in a London ambulance on a man who had been injured in a fight.

She reported her attacker to the police, and this month he was fined and placed on the sex offenders' register for five years over the shocking assault in June, The Sun reports.

Lizzie has now spoken out to highlight the scale of abuse suffered by medical staff.

Paramedic Lizzie Smith waived her right to anonymity after being sexually assaulted on duty. Picture: Supplied / ITV
Paramedic Lizzie Smith waived her right to anonymity after being sexually assaulted on duty. Picture: Supplied / ITV

It comes as the number of attacks on UK ambulance staff has soared, with assaults up by a third in just four years.

Lizzie told the British TV station: "I bent over slightly to put something in this bin and that's when he grabbed my bum.

"I like to think I'm quite feisty sometimes and I know what to say, and I would react quite quickly.

"But I think I jumped I was so shocked."

Her attacker assaulted her as she gave him medical assistance when he was injured in a fight. Picture: Supplied / ITV
Her attacker assaulted her as she gave him medical assistance when he was injured in a fight. Picture: Supplied / ITV

She added: "I felt a bit sick, I felt upset, and I didn't say anything."

Violent assaults on UK ambulance staff have rocketed in recent years, according to stats released by the GMB Union last summer.

Staff reported they had been bitten, stabbed and even sexually assaulted.

Ambulance staff were subjected to 14,441 physical assaults between 2012/13 and January 2018, the union claimed, with almost three-quarters of staff affected.

In 2016/17, recorded attacks on ambulance workers averaged more than eight (8.2) every single day.

Lizzie said attacks at the weekend were ‘expected’ by paramedics. Picture: Supplied / ITV
Lizzie said attacks at the weekend were ‘expected’ by paramedics. Picture: Supplied / ITV

MORE PATIENT ABUSE

In June, the daughter of a paramedic revealed her mum's horrific injuries after she was beaten by a drunken reveller.

Brenda Fox was left covered in bruises after she was pinned to the floor of her ambulance by a violent thug on a weekend night out.

Last March, a paramedic was attacked in an ambulance "parking row" while responding to a 999 call.

Brenda’s daughter Kerry shared a photo of her mum’s injuries to Facebook and slammed the attacker. Picture: Supplied / ITV
Brenda’s daughter Kerry shared a photo of her mum’s injuries to Facebook and slammed the attacker. Picture: Supplied / ITV

Lizzie said abuse from people receiving medical assistance was often part of her job.

Colleagues had also been targeted by patients, with attacks on weekend night shifts "expected", Lizzie said.

She said: "Sexually inappropriate comments I've had a lot of, and I know friends have also had homophobic abuse, racial abuse.

"A weekend night shift you go into work expecting it to be honest."

London Ambulance Service (LAS) said there had been 349 reported physical assaults on staff between January and August this year.

Medical staff have been groped, punched and assaulted with weapons, with another 499 verbal attacks reported.

But despite paramedics and other front-line medical staff being targeted, just 330 people have been convicted in 10 years.

Brenda Fox was attacked while working as a paramedic. Picture: Supplied / ITV
Brenda Fox was attacked while working as a paramedic. Picture: Supplied / ITV

Lizzie hopes that by coming forward she can help raise awareness of the problem.

"We do get so used to it - we get desensitized to it people don't make a fuss,' she said.

"And you know you've got to go to the next job. You know you're busy (so) you don't report every comment that gets made to you or every inappropriate action that happens to you."

The GMB Union, which represents ambulance staff, said assaults had caused medical workers to quit their careers with PTSD.

GMB regional organiser Stacey Booth told ITV: "I've know individuals give up careers - 19, 20, 25-year careers and have left because of an assault - because of never being able to recover.

"Often it's months down the line they're impacted by post-traumatic stress disorder and we're losing really skilled employees."

In Australia, a study by Safe Work Australia in 2018 showed that violence-related injuries on paramedics increased from five to 40 per year between 2001 and 2014.

The cost of these injuries was approximately $250,000, and the report concluded that while females comprised 32 per cent of the paramedic workforce, they were the victims in 42 per cent of cases of exposure to violence and 40 per cent of harassment cases.

If you or someone you know is affected by domestic violence or sexual assault, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

 

Has this story raised issues for you? Help is available.

 

This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission


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