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Illinois increases penalties for assault against nurses

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Springfield, IL – Assaulting a nurse in Illinois will be classified as aggravated battery – a third-degree felony carrying a prison sentence of two to five years – under legislation signed into law Aug. 16.

Supporters of the new law, which takes effect Jan. 1, say it will help protect nurses on the job from acts of violence.

“Nurses in emergency departments save lives; they shouldn’t have to worry about their own lives while on the job,” Emergency Nurses Association President JoAnn Lazarus said in a press release. “We are hopeful that this law is the first step in making emergency departments a safer place to work for our nurses.”

In 2011, nursing care facility workers throughout the country suffered 27.2 injuries per 10,000 workers due to assaults and violent acts – 7 times the overall private-sector rate, according to a report released earlier this summer by Washington-based advocacy group Public Citizen.