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Short Update: Coughs use as a threat towards key workers will be charged as assault in England and Wales

FairTrialsAdmin - April 7, 2020 - COVID-19 Updates, New criminal offences

Since the coronavirus outbreak, there have been reports of key workers being deliberately coughed at by people claiming to have coronavirus. On 26 March 2020, the CPS published a statement warning that such behaviour is illegal, and offenders will receive an enhanced sentence under the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act.  

The Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act, which came into force in November 2018, doubled the maximum sentence for assault against emergency worker from 6 to 12 months. In January 2020,  the CPS published new guidance strengthening its approach to assaults on emergency workers after analysis revealed it had prosecuted almost 20,000 cases since the legislation first came into force. 

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