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‘Spit kits’ urgently needed to protect transport staff from disgusting spitting assaults

Jul 16, 2015News

Public transport staff are increasingly reporting being spat on by members of the public while they are at work, the Rail Tram and Bus Union said today.

RTBU NSW Organiser Mick Cartwright said DNA testing systems, or ‘spit kits,’ were desperately needed to deter perpetrators and protect staff.

“Being spat on is one of the most degrading and insulting forms of assault,” said Mr Cartwright.

“Unfortunately for transport workers this disgusting act appears to be on the rise for staff working on trains, stations, buses and trams.

“It’s simply unacceptable that workers are going to work every day and worrying that they might be spat on by a member of the public.

Mr Cartwright said that DNA testing ‘spit kits’ allowed workers to collect a saliva sample and then have it DNA tested against a database of known offenders.

“Spit kits are a proven method of deterring perpetrators and protecting transport staff from being subject to this revolting act.

“They can dramatically increase the likelihood that a perpetrator will be caught and charged.

“It is just appalling that people are being spat on for simply doing their job and spit kits are absolutely necessary to prevent this.

“We’ve been calling for the introduction of spit kits for some time, and we’re also calling for an increased security presence across the whole public transport network.

A recent RTBU member survey found that 83 per cent of guards, 60 per cent of station staff and 53 per cent of bus drivers reporting being subject to assaults such as spitting, verbal abuse, physical violence or having objects thrown at them.

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