South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, (SECAmb), has formally signed a new NHS Sexual Safety Charter aimed at ensuring a systematic, zero-tolerance approach to sexual misconduct and violence in the NHS.

By signing the Charter, SECAmb is committing to taking and enforcing a zero-tolerance approach to any unwanted, inappropriate and/or harmful sexual behaviours within the workplace and delivering on the Charter’s 10 core principles and actions by July 2024.

SECAmb Chief Executive, Simon Weldon, previously shared his commitment to deliver on the Charter to staff after its launch by NHS England in September. The approach was formally agreed at the Trust’s most recent Board meeting last week.

Ahead of the Board meeting, SECAmb’s Chief Nurse and Director of Quality, Margaret Dalziel, was named as the Trust’s Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Lead.

SECAmb is running a campaign to highlight and address inappropriate behaviour. Launched earlier this year, ‘Until it Stops’ reinforces the Trust’s commitment to making SECAmb a safe place for all.

Margaret said: “It is vital that as an organisation and as individuals we work together to tackle any inappropriate and harmful behaviour.”

“Key to delivering on the Charter is a commitment that we will capture data, review our policies and deliver the required training and support.

“We will ensure there are clear reporting mechanisms and that prompt action is taken against perpetrators such behaviour within the workplace.”

The 10 core principles and actions of the Charter are:

  1. We will actively work to eradicate sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace.
  2. We will promote a culture that fosters openness and transparency, and does not tolerate unwanted, harmful and/or inappropriate sexual behaviours.
  3. We will take an intersectional approach to the sexual safety of our workforce, recognising certain groups will experience sexual harassment and abuse at a disproportionate rate.
  4. We will provide appropriate support for those in our workforce who experience unwanted, inappropriate and/or harmful sexual behaviours.
  5. We will clearly communicate standards of behaviour. This includes expected action for those who witness inappropriate, unwanted and/or harmful sexual behaviour.
  6. We will ensure appropriate, specific, and clear policies are in place. They will include appropriate and timely action against alleged perpetrators.
  7. We will ensure appropriate, specific, and clear training is in place.
  8. We will ensure appropriate reporting mechanisms are in place for those experiencing these behaviours.
  9. We will take all reports seriously and appropriate and timely action will be taken in all cases.
  10. We will capture and share data on prevalence and staff experience transparently. These commitments will apply to everyone in our organisation equally.

Where any of the above is not currently in place, SECAmb is committed to work towards ensuring it is in place by July 2024.