ACT paramedics are being assaulted on the job in record numbers, with last year being the most dangerous for officers on Canberra streets.
In 2017, 16 paramedics were assaulted while out on a shift.
A spokeswoman for the ACT Emergency Services Agency said the figure represents instances of verbal threats towards paramedics as well as physical violence.
Over the past four years, assaults on frontline paramedic staff has steadily risen, after a slight fall from seven in 2013 to five the following year.
Since then, the number of assaults have continued to climb, remaining stable in 2015 before doubling to 10 in 2016 and rising again to 16 last year.
The ESA spokeswoman confirmed already in 2018 four paramedics have been the victim of assault while helping to treat vulnerable patients.
ACT Ambulance Service chief officer Howard Wren said while assaults on staff had jumped in 2017, it still represents a fraction of all interactions between paramedics and patients.
"Unfortunately, there's always a risk of exposure to assault, and that's just an unfortunate reality," Mr Wren said.
"It doesn't mean that we're condoning or excusing this behaviour, but in an unstructured and robust environment, there is going to be a risk."
Mr Wren said a majority of the incidents recorded occur on weekends at night, where alcohol plays a large factor.
"I don't think it's a secret that if you're dealing with intoxicated people that it's going to increase the likelihood of assault," he said.
"It's also extremely complicated when you're dealing with people with disordered thought or who may be confused because of a medical condition. There may be no intention to commit an assault, but the end result could be that someone may be assaulted."
Mr Wren said the increase in assaults coincides with an increase in the number of callouts being received by the ambulance service.
Mr Wren said call volumes are increasing around 6 per cent per year, with the number of calls to triple zero reaching a record high last year in the ACT.
"There's lots of ongoing discussions about a range of items with ambulance services, and occupational violence has always been an agenda item," he said.
"It's fair to say there's an increase in assaults, but to a large extent, it also comes with an increase in the workload."
Last year's jump in the number of assaults on paramedics in the ACT comes as similar incidences in both NSW and Victoria are on the rise.
Paramedics in Victoria have recently painted anti-violence messages on its ambulances, as the state government promised to implement tough new laws on those who assault a paramedic.
Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy said work has started on new laws that would make it more likely that anyone found guilty of assaulting a paramedic would be jailed, following community outrage over a judge's decision to quash the sentences of two Victorian women who attacked a paramedic.
Transport Workers Union official Ben Sweaney said while 2018 is on track to record fewer assaults on paramedics than the year before, more needs to be done to assist staff.
"Additional resources are required to ensure police have the ability to assist paramedics in dealing with aggressive and abusive patients," he said.
"Paramedics should be free to provide the very best level of pre-hospital care of any jurisdiction in Australia without the threat of violence and abuse."
Mr Wren said a range of support services are available for ACT paramedic staff who are the victims of assault while on the job, including more peer-support officers being rostered on to help frontline staff.
"They're there as a first-support contact, and there's a range of government employee assistant programs," he said.
Do you know more? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org