Reporting and recording sexual safety incidents in inpatient mental health settings
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Reporting and recording sexual safety incidents in inpatient mental health settings

Haley Jackson Research Nurse, Westlands Inpatient Services, Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust, Hull, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To be aware of the incidence of sexual safety incidents in mental health settings

  • To recognise the reasons why sexual safety incidents may not be reported

  • To understand the actions that could be taken to improve sexual safety in your area of practice

Concerns have been raised about the sexual safety of people in mental health inpatient settings and it has been identified that the reporting of sexual safety incidents is inconsistent across healthcare services. This article describes the strategy developed by Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust (HTFT) to improve sexual safety for people using mental health services and comply with recommendations from the Care Quality Commission.

The strategy was informed by a literature review and several reports into sexual safety. The literature review found that staff are often unsure how to identify and categorise sexual safety incidents, while debriefing and support for those who experience such incidents are often lacking. In addition, not all healthcare services have policies and protocols in place to guide staff who experience sexual safety incidents. Based on the findings of the literature review, along with recommendations from various organisations, HTFT developed a strategy to ensure the delivery of safe and accountable care. This strategy included: a review of trust policies and procedures; staff and service user focus groups; and the development of a staff education programme. The aim is to disseminate this learning across other inpatient services in the trust.

Mental Health Practice. doi: 10.7748/mhp.2020.e1446

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software


Conflict of interest

None declared

Jackson H (2020) Reporting and recording sexual safety incidents in inpatient mental health settings. Mental Health Practice. doi: 10.7748/mhp.2020.e1446

Published online: 09 June 2020

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