This post was originally published on the UK Says No More campaign website

Data gathered by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) and the Guardian has revealed that more than 35,000 incidents of sexual misconduct or sexual violence - ranging from derogatory remarks to rape - were recorded on NHS premises in England between 2017 and 2022. Most incidents - 58% - involved patients abusing staff.

Sarah D’Angelis, UK Says No More Programme Manager at Hestia, commented:

“The NHS is supposed to be a place where people can feel safe and supported, both as patients and as staff, so this data is deeply concerning. It’s shocking that only 1 in 10 NHS Trusts having a policy in place for instances of sexual violence – this response is completely inadequate, things need to change.

“As NHS Trusts begin to have conversations to tackle these issues, it’s crucial that expert organisations and survivors have a seat at the table to ensure a robust plan of action is put in place.

“All NHS Trusts should have a sexual violence policy, and a fully-funded plan including access to an Independent Sexual Violence Advocate, and specialised training for staff to enable a confident response to reports of sexual violence. Only then can we begin restoring survivors’ confidence that the NHS takes these issues seriously.”