CQC have launched the report Promoting sexual safety through empowerment: A review of sexual safety and the support of people’s sexuality in adult social care.

“Promoting Sexual Safety Through Empowerment draws the connection between an environment which allows people the basic human right to express their sexuality, and an open culture where people feel able to raise concerns around safety where necessary.

“Through engagement with numerous stakeholders including families, staff and providers, the report looks at what can be done to support people in adult social care to have safe sexual relationships. This review includes findings from extensive conversations with people who use services and their families, as well as care providers and other stakeholders, such as advocacy groups and members of the public. CQC also reviewed over 650 notifications of sexual incidents or alleged sexual abuse that took place in adult social care services and were reported by providers to CQC.

“The 661 statutory notifications of sexual incidents or alleged sexual incidents that were reported to CQC between 1 March and 31 May 2018 detail 899 sexual incidents or incidents of alleged sexual abuse that took place in adult social care services such as residential and nursing homes. This reflects 3% of all the abuse or alleged abuse notifications received by CQC during this period. Almost half of the incidents (48%) have been categorised as allegations of sexual assault. The second most common type of incident (11%) was that of indecent exposure and nudity. Sixteen percent of all notifications made allegations against employed staff or visiting workers and 5% of reported instances detailed cases of consensual sex.

“The report also highlights examples of care providers who have developed ways of initiating an open conversations where people are supported to express their sexuality.  This support was found to not only help people express their sexual needs, but to potentially prevent incidents before they happen or ensure they are reported when they do.

“Following engagement with people who use adult social care – including those who have been involved in sexual safety incidents – CQC has outlined recommendations to improve the sexual safety of people using adult social care and empower them to have fulfilling relationships.

“These recommendations include:

  • Providers and leaders across adult social care should develop a culture that encourages people and staff to talk about sexuality and raise concerns around safety. Staff should be empowered to have the confidence to discuss issues around people’s relationships and their sexuality, which may also help to keep them safe from sexual harm
  • The production of co-produced guidance for care managers and staff that focuses on how to protect people using adult social care from sexual abuse and how to support them to develop and maintain relationships and express their sexuality should be developed
  • CQC should continue to improve the system of provider notifications and how they deal with reported incidents ensuring  staff are enabled to deal with these difficult and sensitive issues in a timely way. Through regulation, Inspectors should consider how open cultures are to discuss sex and sexuality and ensure that care plans give appropriate consideration to people’s needs around sexuality and relationships.”

Download the report here