Exclusive: 1 in 4 charged under retail assault laws is a teenager

One in four people charged under retail assault laws in NSW is a teenager, according to data obtained by TDA.
NSW retail worker assault laws

One in four people charged with assaulting or harassing a retail worker in NSW is a teenager, according to data obtained by TDA.

New penalties to protect retail workers were introduced in July. It followed concerns about staff safety, first raised during the pandemic.

NSW Police records show 24 people were charged under the new laws between July and January. This included two 13-year-old girls, one 18-year-old woman, and three boys under 16.

NSW retail worker assault laws

A 13-year-old girl was charged with assault after she allegedly threw an object at a retail worker. She pleaded not guilty. Her case was dropped.

A 14-year-old boy pleaded guilty to assaulting a retail worker but was not handed any penalty.

Two other cases are still before the court. No teenager has been convicted yet.

Adult convictions

Adult offenders convicted under the new retail assault laws have received low-level sentences, like community service.

One 55-year-old man was found guilty and sentenced to community-served prison.

Under this type of sentence, an offender can be made to wear electronic monitoring, like an ankle bracelet, or attend behavioural programs.

Charges were often laid in Sydney’s CBD and western suburbs.

Police response

NSW Police didn’t address questions from TDA about the trends of charges issued under the retail worker laws.

They said they would “continue to work to identify those responsible for crimes targeting retail workers, irrespective of age, and take the appropriate action”.

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