June 25, 2021

HJ Talks About Abuse: Equality and Human Rights Commission Legal Agreement to Tackle Sexual Harassment

In this episode of HJ Talks about Abuse podcast, Alan Collins and Feleena Grosvenor discuss the legal agreement between the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the East of England Ambulance Service Trust.

In June 2020, the Care Quality Commission (“CQC”) concluded an inspection into the East of England Ambulance Service Trust. The CQC reported that thirteen cases of sexual misconduct by staff had been reported to the police. The information was received from seven whistleblowers in relation to "safeguarding patients and staff from sexual abuse, inappropriate behaviours and harassment".

In August 2020, the CQC approached the Equality and Human Rights Commission (“EHRC”).

The EHRC entered into a legal agreement with the Ambulance Service due to the “egregious breaches of the Equality Act”. This is the first legal agreement between the EHRC and an NHS Trust.

The agreement lays down specific measures, including:

  • Carrying out a staff survey to assess levels of sexual harassment within the trust
  • Implementing training which responds to the findings of the survey
  • Reviewing its Dignity at Work policy to include a clear harassment strategy statement and procedure
  • Having board and senior managers take part in a workshop on sexual and predatory behaviour
  • Completing risk assessments to identify areas in the trust where sexual harassment is most likely to occur and putting appropriate measures in place

We encourage anyone who has comments or concerns relating to this subject, or about abuse in general, to get in touch with Alan Collins at alan.collins@hughjames.com or Feleena Grosvenor at Feleena.grosvenor@hughjames.com.

 

Sources:

East of England Ambulance Service Trust in legal agreement to tackle sexual harassment - BBC News

NHS East of England Ambulance Service paramedic jailed for sexual assault of patients - BBC News

 

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