Press one of the expand buttons to see the full text of an article. Later press collapse to revert to the original form. The buttons below expand or collapse all articles.
May 7, 2012 permalink
New York state is considering legislation, supported by the social workers union, to increase the penalties for assaulting a social worker. Sponsoring senator Golden said 14 percent of social workers in New York experienced some form of assault in the past year, while 30 percent experienced assault at some point during their career. The legislators are not considering reducing intrusiveness to make social work safer, nor do they mention the gulag to house the influx of new prisoners.
Lawmakers: Give more protection to social workers and prison guards
A bipartisan contingent of legislators from both houses spoke in favor of a bill that equates attacking a social worker or a prison guard with assault on a police officer.
"We need to do what we need to do to protect the workers," said Assemblywoman Barbara M. Clark, D-Queens.
The bill, S.641-b/A.4672-b, sponsored by Sen. Martin J. Golden, R-Brooklyn, and Assemblyman Peter M. Rivera, D-Bronx, would change the penalty for attacking a social worker or corrections officer to a second-degree assault charge. The bill would also punish anyone for the same assault charge if an animal under their control attacks a social worker or prison guard.
Second-degree assault is a class D felony in New York, punishable by up to seven years in prison. The bill passed the Senate 58-1 and has been referred to the Assembly Codes Committee. Versions of the bill have been introduced since 2007.
Golden said 14 percent of social workers in New York experienced some form of assault in the past year, while 30 percent experienced assault at some point during their career.
"We see not only assaults, but people being killed," Golden said. "They have to be given safeguards to do [their job] safely."
Rivera's office said assaults on social services employees rose 10 percent last year, totaling 61 different employees.
Sen. Diane J. Savino, D-Staten Island, a sponsor of the bill, said when her mother found out she was going to be a caseworker instead of a police officer, she said, "Oh my God, that's worse."
Savino said her mother was a 911 operator at the time and was familiar with social work. "She was horrified," Savino recalls. The senator said the risk social workers face has not changed since she started working in the field 22 years ago. Savino has served as the vice president of political action and legislative affairs at Social Service Employees Union Local 371.
"People should come home in the same condition as they left in the morning," said Assemblyman Rory I. Lancman, D-Hillcrest, a sponsor of the bill. "We need to hold accountable those who assault our social workers."
"It really affects not just us but the people we represent," said Eddie Rodriguez, president of New York City Clerical-Administrative Employees Local 1549. "I have seen people get hurt. I have seen people get beat up."
"Public service is one of the hardest and challenging careers," said Assemblywoman Vanessa L. Gibson, D-Morris Heights, a sponsor of the bill. "Certainly they are right in harm's way."
Source: Legislative Gazette