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Support for Victims of Sexual Abuse and Sexual Misconduct

A registrant is in a position of power over a patient by virtue of having professional knowledge and skill that a patient must rely on for their well-being. 

Registrants must always maintain professional boundaries with their patients. They are prohibited from engaging in any form of sexual abuse or sexual misconduct with a patient as defined by law in the Health Professions Act (HPA).  

Complaints of a sexual nature may involve: 

  • Inappropriate comments or gestures: This could include saying something sexually suggestive or seductive to a patient, commenting unnecessarily about sexual relationships or sexual orientation, making sexually insulting or offensive comments or jokes, or giving unwanted attention (like kissing). 
  • Unnecessary or improper physical examinations: Conducting a breast, genital, or pelvic examination without a valid medical reason would be considered sexual abuse if the touching is of a sexual nature. 
  • Sexual contact or assault: This encompasses everything from inappropriate touching to sexual assault. It also includes any sexual contact between a registrant and a patient that would otherwise be considered consensual. 
  • Sexual relationships: Even if a registrant and a patient (as defined in the CRNA’s Protection Of Patients From Sexual Abuse And Sexual Misconduct Standards) agree to have a sexual relationship, this constitutes sexual abuse since legally there can be no consent to a sexual relationship between a registrant and a patient. 

All registrants and applicants must complete the online education course Protecting Patients from Sexual Abuse and Misconduct as a requirement for receiving a practice permit. The mandatory course covers expectations for the nursing profession and its relationships with patients. The knowledge and application of these expectations by registrants will help to protect patients from sexual abuse and misconduct. 

Reporting a Complaint 

The CRNA recognizes that coming forward with a complaint about sexual abuse or sexual misconduct can be very difficult; however, there are good reasons for reporting: 

  • Public protection: Incidents of sexual abuse are often not isolated. Coming forward could mean preventing an incident from occurring again. 
  • Awareness: The CRNA relies on individuals to make it aware when things are not right. The CRNA can only learn about sexual abuse from people who make complaints. 
  • A sense of closure: Knowing that there is an investigation and potential consequences may play a role in the healing process. 

The CRNA takes all complaints seriously. Call CRNA for assistance or to make a complaint. Our conduct department has training in response to sexual abuse and can help you navigate the CRNA’s complaint process. 

For more information call 780.451.0043 / 1.800.252.9392 and ask to speak to someone in the complaints department. Learn more about the complaint management process

Funding for Therapy or Counselling 

The CRNA has established a patient relations program to support patients who come forward with complaints of sexual abuse or sexual misconduct. The program provides access to funding for therapy or counselling. 

To learn more about funding for counselling or therapy, please contact the CRNA’s conduct department at 780.451.0043 / 1.800.252.9392. 

Patients may also wish to contact Health Link Alberta for resources to support them.