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Almost a third of NHS female surgical staff have been assaulted

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A new study has revealed almost a third of NHS female surgical staff have been sexually assaulted in the last five years.

The study, published in the British Journal of Surgery (BJS) and undertaken by the University of Exeter, looked at reports over the past five years amongst surgeons working in the UK and found that, of those polled, 63% of women and 23% of men experienced some form of sexual misconduct in the workplace.  Of those, nearly 30% of women reported being sexually assaulted compared to almost 7% of the male surgical workforce. 

The report also pointed to the amount of sexual coercion within the workforce, with 11% of women "experiencing forced physical contact linked to career opportunities".  Almost 90% of women and 81% of men said they had witnessed sexual misconduct in the workplace. 

The report concluded by saying: “Sexual misconduct occurs frequently and appears to go unchecked in the surgical environment owing to a combination of a deeply hierarchical structure and a gender and power imbalance. The result is an unsafe working environment and an unsafe space for patients.”

David Hawkins, who is a specialist in Child and Adult Abuse compensation law at Biscoes, has many years’ experience in seeking redress for people who have been sexually assaulted, including within the workplace.  If you have been affected by these issues, please do not hesitate to get in touch and we can speak to you in complete confidence about your legal rights.