New Del. Law Would Enhanced Penalties For Assault Against Healthcare Workers


Violence against more healthcare workers in Delaware would be a felony offense under legislation given final approval in the State Senate.
Delaware Code already classifies assault against people in various professions as a second-degree crime, including physicians, nurses and EMT’s. However, it did not include numerous other employees in a health system who have close contact with patients and families, such as physician assistants, respiratory therapists, patient safety attendants, and other assistants and therapists – as well as technicians and technologists, publics safety officers and security officers.

“Health care workers have dedicated their lives to caring for others, yet they are four times more likely to face serious workplace violence than in any other career,” Delaware Healthcare Association President & CEO Wayne Smith said. “Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has only increased the frequency and severity of these incidents, which is why HB 324 is needed now more than ever. We thank the Delaware General Assembly for standing up against violence to health care workers — a top concern for Delaware hospitals.”

Figures released by the DHA and the Joint Commission indicate the following:

 Health care workers have a 20 percent higher chance of being the victim of workplace
violence than other workers.

 Workers in health care settings are four times more likely to be victimized than workers
in private industry.

75 percent of nearly 25,000 workplace assaults reported annually occurred in health care
and social service settings.

House Bill 324 goes to Governor John Carney for his signature.