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At the end of last year, Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust’s (SCFT) Board of Directors signed the NHS Sexual Safety Charter.

The Sexual Safety Charter was launched by NHS England on 4 September 2023, in collaboration with key partners across the healthcare system. The aim of the charter is to ensure a systematic, zero-tolerance approach to sexual misconduct and violence in the NHS.

By signing this charter in November 2023, we committed to taking and enforcing a zero-tolerance approach to any unwanted, inappropriate and/or harmful sexual behaviours within the workplace.

There are 10 core principles and actions to help achieve our commitment, that we will implement by July 2024. The principles are:

  • we will actively work to eradicate sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace
  • we will promote a culture that fosters openness and transparency, and does not tolerate unwanted, harmful and/or inappropriate sexual behaviours
  • 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
  • we will provide appropriate support for those in our workforce who experience unwanted, inappropriate and/or harmful sexual behaviours
  • we will clearly communicate standards of behaviour. This includes expected action for those who witness inappropriate, unwanted and/or harmful sexual behaviour
  • we will ensure appropriate, specific, and clear policies are in place. They will include appropriate and timely action against alleged perpetrators
  • we will ensure appropriate, specific, and clear training is in place
  • we will ensure appropriate reporting mechanisms are in place for those experiencing these behaviours

Our Chief People Officer, Caroline Haynes, has been named as the Trust’s Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Lead. Caroline said: “I am proud to be an advocate of the NHS Sexual Safety Charter. It is important that as an organisation, and as individuals, we create a workplace culture where sexual misconduct is never accepted. Everyone should feel safe in their place of work.”

As a Trust we are committed to the reduction of all violence, including domestic abuse, and are progressing our work to support individuals and raise awareness.