Patients not safe from rape in Victorian hospitals

Always believed hospital was a safe place where you would be looked after and treated accordingly with care? Well, you may need to think again following the release of shocking figures this week.

Patients and others working in Victorian hospitals are seemingly not safe from sexual assault, with one person on average being sexually assaulted every four days.

Victorian hospitals recorded 83 sexual offences between October 2015 and September 2016, according to the state’s Crime Statistics Agency.

Troublingly, the figures reveal a doubling in the amount of assaults from the previous year.

76 per cent of the 83 assaults were committed by the same 15 offenders, suggesting that repeat offenders are not being dealt with appropriately.

The figures take into account both assaults on patients as well as assault on hospital staff, sometimes perpetrated by other staff members.

Even of more concern, it is likely the figures are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the frequency of sexual assaults, due to a reticence to report such incidents.

“Eighty-three against the number of patients who come into hospitals in Victoria is low and would lead me to think there’s an under-reporting going on,” Victoria Centres Against Sexual Assault spokeswoman, Carolyn Worth, told a local newspaper.

“In this day and age, they should have rigorous procedures in place, they should be calling in CASA, and they should be using the police where they need to.”

Sexual assault and sexual harassment in the world of medicine and health has become a growing concern since revelations in 2015 of a ‘boy’s club’ mentality at the highest levels of medicine that has helped cover up serious allegations of rape and harassment against female staff and patients.

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