Good Samaritan laws set moral standard


Should I or shouldn’t I help? Of course you should.
Should I or shouldn’t I help? Of course you should.

DO you know what “good Samaritan laws” are?

They exist to protect those who help injured or endangered persons, encouraging bystanders not to reconsider their actions for fear they may be prosecuted if their attempt at saving someone should fail, for instance, the victim dying.

In 2003, laws were passed in Western Australia to protect good Samaritans from civil prosecution if their help is in good faith, and not reckless.

Sadly, although good Samaritan laws set a moral standard for us, they vary around the world.

Hence, this moral standard is clouded and it is difficult to know what is “right” in one country but not another.

The absence of good Samaritan laws may result in more situations such as one in China where a girl playing on a street was hit by two vans and 18 bystanders failed to help her.

Conversely, when the “duty to rescue” concept is applied, bystanders are legally required to aid. This requirement may unfortunately see an increase in cases such as one in 2004, where in the midst of a car accident involving two Californian co-workers, one was dragged out by the other and became a paraplegic.

It is essential for us as global citizens to know what laws are in place here and abroad when travelling.

Even when lives are involved, it is not always as simple as doing the right thing.

KENITH PNG, Year 11 student,

Corpus Christi College.