The National Retail Association has expressed disappointment with the meagre sentence handed to the first person convicted under laws supposedly designed to protect retail workers from violence.

National Retail Association’s Director – Policy, David Stout, said retail business owners and their employees had been watching the case closely, hoping to see the courts send a strong statement to offenders.

He said the sentence would be a disappointment for those who regularly deal with violence in their workplace.

“Retail workers and business owners are desperate for better protection from violence,” Mr Stout said.

“We know that 80 percent of retail workers have experienced some form of abuse at the hands of customers, including violence.

“It was pleasing to see the South Australian Government leading the nation by bringing in specific laws, and we are still keen to see other states and territories follow.

“We are also very grateful for the way the South Australian Police have prioritised this issue and worked hard to bring this prosecution to the courts.

“Sadly though, unless the courts also realise the significance of the problem, and send appropriate signals when sentencing offenders, the deterrent simply is not there.

“In this case, staff were physically assaulted and spat on, and they have told the court they were left traumatised by the experience.

“To see the offender walk away with a good behaviour bond and fine, but no jail time will compound their trauma, and will disappoint all retail owners and workers who had such high hopes for these new laws.

“We would like to see the South Australian Government have another look at their nation-leading laws, to ensure that all the good work of police is not undone in sentencing offenders.”

Mr Stout said the National Retail Association was leading advocacy on this issue through its state-based Retail Crime Committees and called on the retail sector to work together to present a strong and united voice to government.

The National Retail Association represents more than 60,000 stores across Australia.  It has been serving businesses in the retail and fast-food sectors for close to 100 years.

David Stout is available for an interview.
Contact the National Retail Association media unit at