The National Retail Association has demanded greater protection for retail workers and customers in the wake of a tragic fatal stabbing of a bottle shop attendant in the Northern Territory.
NRA Chief Executive Officer Greg Griffith called on all State Governments to follow the lead of South Australia with legislation to make assaulting a retail worker a specific offence.
He also called for greater police presence in shopping centres, and more powers to prohibit violent individuals from returning to a store.
“This is a tragic event, and our thoughts are with the family and colleagues of this young man who has lost his life while doing his job,” Mr Griffith said.
“It underscores the need for stronger legislation to protect retail workers, and greater power for police to ban violent individuals from shopping precincts, just as happens in hotels and nightclubs.
“We know from our recent survey that 88 per cent of retail workers experienced abusive or aggressive behaviour at work over the previous 12 months, including 85 per cent who were abused while trying to prevent theft.
“Retail workers have the right to be safe at work, and not be physically or verbally abused. People who are there with the wrong intentions are not welcome and retailers should be able to exclude them.
“We are calling on all State Governments to step up the protections the law provides for both team members and customers in retail areas.
“Nobody deserves to be attacked while they are trying to do their job, and we need urgent action from governments in the face of this escalating problem.”
Mr Griffith also urged retail workers to always put their own safety first when dealing with criminal behaviour, whether that were theft or aggression and violence.
“We are seeing more, and more brazen, attacks on retail sites. Workers always need to remember that their safety must come before every other consideration.”
The National Retail Association is the voice of modern retail, representing more than 60,000 stores across Australia. It has been serving businesses in the retail and fast-food sectors for close to 100 years.
For more information, please contact the NRA media unit at [email protected] or 0467 792 013.