On 14 March 2016, we expressed that Stacks Goudkamp supports the men and women of emergency services through our work in assisting them with personal injury claims. Media coverage since this publication has brought a public voice to the issue that has for so long haunted many current and former police officers and emergency crews.

Emergency services and first response units undoubtedly play a major role in the safety of our society. That being so, they are often, in their day to day duties, subject to scenes which are unimaginable to most of the population.

They are first on the scene for major traffic incidents, major accidents and violent situations, only to name a few. Just like any other work place, these men and women are not immune to feeling the effects of stress and pressure in their roles, and on top of that, the emotional and psychological toll that they are exposed to in their line of work.

The work that these officers do in support of our community leaves a lot of officers suffering the effects of a psychological injury, which in of itself is complex and confusing, let alone the workplace and legal issues that may arise as a consequence.

Psychological injuries in the emergency services, and in particular, the New South Wales Police Force have been recently reported in the media, bringing awareness to the public of the effects that this work has, in particular when adequate counselling and support services are not available.

This is in contrast to recent history, where for years officers often found themselves silenced if they suffered from psychological injuries such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Police officers still suffer the stigma and taboo associated with opening up and reporting mental illness, however, positive media coverage supporting their situation brings the issue to the forefront of conversation to be heard nationwide.

It is reported that as many as one in ten active emergency service workers suffer from symptoms associated with PTSD. Charity organisation, Beyond Blue is currently undertaking a study into national mental health on first responders, such as police officers, to investigate the prevalence of mental health conditions in this group within Australia. The findings of this study are set to be released at the end of 2017.

The family of police officers suffering from a psychological injury also feel the impact, with wide reporting of a diminished family and home life, with some partners and family members also suffering from psychological issues themselves as a result of caring for their injured partner. It is therefore also important that a wide network of support is provided to families to assist with the recovery process.

Every day we are reminded that these officers put their lives at risk in the line of duty, and it is important for them to be reminded that there is a team out there who will passionately fight for their compensation rights.

Stacks Goudkamp represents a number of men and women in the New South Wales Police Force, and other emergency services in their compensation claims. We are passionate in ensuring that these officers are given not only the recognition for the work that they do for our community, but also to assist them in receiving the compensation that they deserve after suffering a psychological injury at work.

Written by Sian-Louise Perez.

Sian-Louise Perez is a Solicitor in Ian Chipchase and Anna Tavianatos’ Practice Group. Sian-Louise’s practice has a particular focus on workers compensation claims and she is passionate supporter of workers’ rights.