What is Sexual Abuse and Sexual Misconduct?

Sexual Abuse is defined in the Health Professions Act, and “means the threatened, attempted or actual conduct of a regulated member towards a patient that is of a sexual nature and includes any of the following conduct:

a) Sexual intercourse between a regulated member and a patient of that regulated member;
b) Genital to genital, genital to anal, oral to genital or oral to anal contact between a regulated member and a patient of that regulated member;
c) Masturbation of a regulated member by, or in the presence of, a patient of that regulated member;
d) Masturbation of a regulated member’s patient by that regulated member;
e) Encouraging a regulated member’s patient to masturbate in the presence of that regulated member;
f) Touching of a sexual nature of a client’s genitals, anus, breasts or buttocks by a regulated member.”

Sexual Misconduct as defined in the Health Professions Act, “means any incident or repeated incidents of objectionable or unwelcome conduct, behaviour or remarks of a sexual nature by a regulated member towards a patient that the regulated member knows or ought reasonably to know will or would cause offence or humiliation to the patient or adversely affect the patient’s health and well-being but does not include sexual abuse.”

Sexual nature as defined in the Health Professions Act, “does not include any conduct, behaviour or remarks that are appropriate to the services provided.”

Who is a patient?

Each college that regulates a health profession must define who constitutes a “patient” in their Standards of Practice: Sexual Abuse and Sexual Misconduct Prevention.  Our college has defined patient as “an individual is a patient of the Registered Dietitian if there is direct interaction between the Registered Dietitian and the individual and:

a) the Registered Dietitian has, in respect of a health care/professional service to the individual, charged or received payment from the individual or third party on behalf of the individual, and/or
b) the Registered Dietitian has contributed to a health record or file for the individual, and/or
c) the individual has consented to the health care/professional service recommended by the Registered Dietitian.”

Further, our college has defined when an individual is not a patient as “an individual is not a patient if:

a) there is an ongoing, pre-existing sexual relationship between the individual and the Registered Dietitian, or the individual is the Registered Dietitian’s spouse; and/or
b) the Registered Dietitian provides the health care/professional service to the individual in emergency circumstances; and/or
c) the Registered Dietitian has taken reasonable steps to transfer the care of the individual to another Registered Dietitian or alternate service provider, or there is no reasonable opportunity to transfer care to another Registered Dietitian/service provider.”

Note: If the health care provider is not a member of a regulated profession, they are not subject to the authority of any regulatory college. Should you have a complaint or concern about their conduct or the care they provided, please contact the employer of the unregulated provider and/or the police.