The Right to be Safe
Ensuring sexual safety in acute mental health inpatient units: A sexual safety project report by the Mental Health Complaints Commissioner (MHCC).
On 1 September 2023, the work and functions of the Mental Health Complaints Commissioner (MHCC) were transferred to the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission (MHWC). This report was produced and published by the former MHCC in 2018, who undertook this project to review issues of sexual safety in acute mental health inpatient environments.
In response to concerning complaints, this project examined the best approaches for ensuring sexual safety in acute mental health inpatient environments. These included complaints about people not feeling or being sexually safe in acute mental health inpatient environments, or experiencing sexual activity, sexual harassment or alleged sexual assault while in these environments.
The reports below use the branding used by the MHCC and contain recommendations for safe practices, guidelines, infrastructure, training and cultures, which public mental health services have responded to.
The Right to be Safe - Ensuring sexual safety in acute mental health inpatient units PDF 947.83 KB (947.83 KB)
This report examined people’s experiences of not being or feeling sexually safe in acute inpatient mental health services. The summary of responses to it from Victorian Mental Health Services is also available for download: The Right to be Safe sexual safety report - Summary of service responses PDF 252.42 KB (252.42 KB)
The responses from services show that some services have made meaningful and significant changes to their processes and culture, particularly after a serious sexual safety breach. However, these changes have not been achieved by all services and there are further actions many could take in terms of prevention and targeted intervention.