Guidance for People Receiving Reports of Sexual Misconduct

If someone discloses sexual misconduct to you it is important that you listen and offer what support you can.



Sexual misconduct has occurred if someone has been made to feel distressed or uncomfortable. Their work and study may be adversely affected and they may demonstrate aspects of burnout.



Give space and time for individuals impacted to relay their account to you. Avoid active questioning or challenging. Consider how to create a safe space to listen – offer a chaperone or ask the individual if they would like to bring someone with them. The following responses may be helpful: [1]

  • “I am glad you have told me this”.
  • “I believe you”.
  • “This is not your fault”.
  • “I am here if you want to tell me more, but you don’t have to. We could think together about what expert support we can get for you”.
  • “It is your choice whether you report this further. Having said that I have a responsibility to act if I think that you, or anyone else is at risk of serious harm, or if I think that a colleague may not be fit to practice”.
  • “I take this seriously”.



1. Rape Crisis England and Wales - A service for anyone who has been affected by rape, child sexual abuse, sexual assault, sexual harassment, or any other form of sexual violence – at any point in their life.

Helpline: 0808 500 2222  


2. Rape Crisis Scotland -  Helpline for anyone over 13 who has experienced sexual violence, no matter when or how it happened. Sexual harassment, whether at work or elsewhere, is a form of sexual violence.

Helpline: 08088 010302 | Particularly useful booklet on sexual harassment in the workplace [2]


3. Rape Crisis Northern Ireland - A support service for anyone who is 18 and over and has experienced serious sexual assault and rape in adulthood.

Helpline: 0800 0246 991


4. British Medical Association - Free and confidential 24/7 counselling line and peer support service open to all doctors and medical students.

Helpline: 0330 123 1245 


5. Sexual Assault Referral Centres - Offer medical, practical and emotional support to anyone who has been raped, sexually assaulted or abused within the last 12 month.


6. The Samaritans - You don’t have to feel suicidal to get in touch. Only 1 person in 5 who calls Samaritans says that they feel suicidal.

Helpline: 116 123 


7. Deanery - Your TPD or Head of School will offer confidential, non-judgmental practical support and signpost you to service that will help to support you such as Professional Support and Wellbeing Services.



  1. Keep a record: Record any concerns shared with you. Record you actions including signposting to support and any advice you have given.
  2. Disclosure only without formal reporting: The person may gain benefit from having been able to tell you and having been listened to. They may not wish to take things any further. Their confidentiality should be respected. You may however have a professional responsibility to report.
  3. Reporting: You have a responsibility to report if you think that the target or anyone else is at risk of serious harm or if you think that a colleague may not be fit to practice.

a) Reporting within the workplace: The targeted person may wish to make a statement to share with one or more people with responsibility for the accused (e.g.: line manager, HR, medical director etc). Where the above criteria are met, the responsible person should take forward concerns and report the accused as disclosed to them.

b) Reporting to the GMC: Advice is available for both the impacted person and the person to whom they have disclosed the event or events via the GMC confidential helpline (0161 923 6399).

c) Reporting to the police: Sexual harassment and assault are criminal matters.

Receiving a report of sexual misconduct can be stressful. Ensure that you are also appropriately supported.

Reference Links:

[1] WPSMS (2023) Working Party on Sexual Misconduct in Surgery Support Guide 2023 

[2] Rape Crisis Scotland (2015) Information and support for anyone experiencing sexual violence and harassment in the workplace. Available at: Accessed: 09.12.2023 

Tagged with: letsremoveit Sexual Harrassment Sexual Misconduct

back to top of page