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Sexual misconduct

Latest research report

Better understanding of where, when and why sexual misconduct occurs in health/care settings, can help regulators and service providers put in place measures to tackle it earlier. The latest research funded by us and conducted by Professor Ros Searle used data from our fitness to practise database to analyse the circumstances of incidents of sexual misconduct by health and social care professionals. Read Sexual misconduct in health and social care: understanding types of abuse and perpetrators’ moral mindsets or see a visual summary of the key findings.

Crossing sexual boundaries with colleagues

We have observed that sexual misconduct between health and care practitioners may be treated less seriously by regulators' fitness to practise panels than overstepping boundaries with patients. We believe that this is a serious issue with the potential to impact patient safety and public confidence. We commissioned research to find out what the public and professionals think about this and asked them 'where does the boundary lie?' Download the report: Sexual behaviours between health and care practitioners: where does the boundary lie?.


Watch Dr Simon Christmas explain some of the main findings from Sexual behaviours between health and care practitioners: where does the boundary lie?  (To watch on full screen press 'V' or to watch with captions press 'cc')

Read our publications:

Sexual misconduct - moral mindsets stats and key findings

Bad apples research - the vast majority of healthcare professionals work with dedication and integrity and are committed to the best possible patient care. However, in a small minority of cases healthcare professionals have seriously breached sexual boundaries with patients or their carers. These types of cases can undermine the trust and confidence we place in healthcare professionals. We have funded ground-breaking research into professional misconduct which identified three types of perpetrators. Read the report Bad apples? Bad barrels? Or bad cellars? Antecedents and processes of professional misconduct in UK health and social care

Keeping safe/report a concern

If patients seeing a health professional feel concerned about the way they are being treated or the way a professional is behaving towards them they should tell the health professional if they feel able - discuss it with another health professional, health manager or employer or seek advice from the regulator or accredited register

Read our advice about what to do if you think a professional has crossed a line.


Our research in practice

Find out more about our research work in practice and how it can contribute to improving regulation in this short case study.

Fitness to practise case studies on sexual misconduct

See these case studies about sexual misconduct in cases we have appealed as part of our section 29 powers: