Support for Organisations
It takes a huge amount of courage for a survivor to disclose their experience, especially to a manager or employer. Your response should encourage the survivor to feel safe and supported. Find a safe space to talk to the survivor and take time to listen. Misogynistic behaviours often make the victim feel powerless, so ensuring that the survivor is in control of the conversation and the next steps is paramount. Thank the survivor for sharing their experience with you and make sure the survivor knows you believe them.
Next steps may involve reporting and supporting the survivor through that process. Create a clear plan with the survivor and ensure that they understand what will happen. It is okay if this plan is to do nothing. If a survivor does not want to go any further, respect that decision. Developing a reporting policy can guide staff members to ensure they follow the correct steps to report the incident if the survivor wishes to do so.
Following sexual misconduct survivors have to deal with many processes that may be re-traumatising. There are ways to improve this by offering support with the reporting process, attending meetings with them, arranging check-ins, and signposting to specialist services. It is helpful for employers to have a list of local services to signpost to such as the local sexual assault referral centre and mental health support services. There are more details on national services on the survivor information page.
Recognising that there is a problem with sexism, sexual harassment, and sexual assault in healthcare is the first step in making change. We strongly encourage healthcare organisations and employers to reflect on the issues in their own workplaces. Sadly no healthcare workplace is free from sexism and sexual misconduct. But there are ways this can be improved.
We offer employer and healthcare organisation packs and provide virtual/in person training on first disclosures, active bystander training, and supporting survivors. We also offer expert-led consultancy services for healthcare organisations on policy for sexual violence in healthcare, including developing sexual safety and reporting policies. See our Training and Consultancy page for more.
Training & Consultancy