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RCN signs NHS sexual safety charter

13 Sep 2023

We’ve joined other health organisations in committing to a zero-tolerance approach to harmful sexual behaviour in the workplace.

Close up on nurse's hand signing a document on a clipboard

The RCN has signed an NHS England workplace charter that aims to help eradicate sexual misconduct within the health care system.

The charter commits us to a zero-tolerance approach to inappropriate and harmful sexual behaviours in the workplace.

It includes 10 principles to help achieve that aim, including: creating a transparent workplace culture; support for those who experience inappropriate sexual behaviours; clear organisational standards of behaviour, including actions that witnesses should take; clear policies, training and reporting mechanisms; and a commitment to take all reports seriously.

Other organisations that have signed the charter include NHS Employers and several other Royal Colleges representing GPs, anaesthetists, psychiatrists and surgeons, and obstetricians and gynaecologists.

By signing, we have pledged to ensure all of the 10 principles are in place by July 2024.

This commitment will build upon work that is already being done internally at the RCN. In 2021, we commissioned two independent reviews into the culture and governance of our College. The resulting reports from KPMG and Bruce Carr KC led to 38 recommendations, which we are working to achieve. Read more here.

Nicola Ranger, RCN Chief Nursing Officer, said: “The RCN is serious about tackling sexual misconduct. Everyone in every workplace has a responsibility to help create a culture where this behaviour is never accepted. As an organisation, we are taking action to empower witnesses and victims, ensure that reports are taken seriously and perpetrators face appropriate consequences. Everyone deserves to feel safe in their place of work.”

The charter was launched days before damning reports about sexual harassment and assault among surgeons. If you’ve been the victim of sexual misconduct in the workplace, contact the RCN for advice.

Page last updated - 11/02/2024