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NHS sexual safety charter launched to protect staff

NHS sexual safety charter launched to protect staff
By Jess Hacker
7 September 2023

The NHS has launched its first sexual safety charter to protect staff who have been victim to harassment or inappropriate behaviour.

Under the new action, every local health system and NHS trust will have a domestic abuse and sexual violence lead to support patients and staff to report incidents.

NHS managers who sign up to the charter will receive extra training to improve awareness and to make sure any allegations are investigated appropriately.

The NHS staff survey will also now include questions around sexual safety.

The 10-pledge agreement aims to provide staff with clear reporting mechanisms, training and support, with NHS chiefs encouraging non-NHS organisations in the sector, including royal colleges, to adopt the framework.

The chair of NHS England’s National Clinical Network of Sexual Assault and Abuse Services, Dr Binta Sultan, said: ‘This charter is the start of an important journey to wipe out unwanted, inappropriate and harmful sexual behaviour in healthcare environments, making them safe for all staff and patients, and while this can be difficult subject for some, we are extremely grateful to everyone who speaks up against abuse so we can stamp it out.’

And Steve Russell, chief delivery officer at NHS England said: ‘As the biggest employer in Europe, it is right that the NHS takes a lead role in tackling sexual misconduct, violence, harassment, or abuse in the workplace.

‘By signing up to this charter, NHS staff will now receive more support if they have suffered any form of misconduct, while workers will also receive further training so they can help colleagues and the patients they treat.’

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