An ambulance worker who was sexually assaulted by a patient has been praised for campaigning to change the law.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service ambulance technician, Sarah Kelly, suffered a harrowing sexual assault in 2016 by a man that she was trying to help.

“I’ll never forget the look in his eyes,” she said.

“He seized my leg, he grabbed my right breast.

“Tears come to my eyes now just reliving the shock – and the violation I felt.”

She added: “It later transpired that this man was a notorious sexual predator and had breached a criminal behaviour order four times.

“The police and the local hospital had instructions on how to deal with him and ensure he was never left alone with a woman.”

Ambulance on an emergency call

After his release Sarah, who was based at Bradford, said she was terrified she would have to respond to him because unlike the police or hospitals, the ambulance emergency calls system had no way of flagging predators who had no fixed abode.

But Sarah was determined not to let the issue be forgotten.

Through her trade union, the GMB, and with the help and support of Holly Lynch MP and Chris Bryant MP, she was pivotal in starting the Protect the Protectors campaign.

Halifax MP Holly Lynch after she spent Bonfire Night shadowing fire services as part of the Protect the Protectors campaign

The aim of the campaign was to make sentencing guidelines tougher for people who assaulted emergency service workers carrying out their duty.

Ambulance crews are assaulted in Yorkshire EVERY day

In April, the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill, was passed by MPs, introducing a new offence of common assault against an emergency worker.

It requires courts to treat attacks on emergency workers as an aggravating factor for sentencing purposes.

Sarah’s campaigning was also crucial in sexual assaults being included in the bill after they were originally omitted.

Tough new prison sentences for people who attack police, fire and ambulance workers

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Following Sarah's efforts she has now been presented the Eleanor Marx special award at GMB’s 101st Congress in Brighton this week.

She said: “I’m really quiet humbled by it really.

“If hadn’t been for the support I received from my union GMB, from my officer Stacey Booth and Pauline Kiely my branch secretary, I wouldn’t be working in the ambulance service.

“Both of them and my husband Neil gave me the support to carry on going, even when things were tough, so that we could challenge this and fight for staff to be protected at work.”