Definition of Sexual Abuse
Section 1 of the Health Professions Procedural Code (Code) of the RHPA defines sexual abuse as follows:
(3) In this Code, “sexual abuse” of a patient (client) by a member means,
(a) Sexual intercourse or other forms of physical sexual relations between a member and the patient (client);
(b) Touching, of a sexual nature, of the patient (client) by the member; or
(c) Behavior or remarks of a sexual nature by the member towards the patient (client).
(4) For the purposes of subsection (3), “sexual nature” does not include touching, behaviour, or remarks of a clinical nature appropriate to the service provided.
Penalties for Sexual Abuse and Other Forms of Misconduct
The Code defines the penalties for a member who has been found guilty of committing an act of professional misconduct by sexually abusing a client (section 51(5)). A panel of the College’s Discipline committee must:
- Reprimand the member.
- Revoke the member’s certificate of registration if the sexual abuse consisted of, or included, any of the following:
i. Sexual intercourse.
ii. Genital to genital, genital to anal, oral to genital or oral to anal contact.
iii. Masturbation of the member by, or in the presence of, the patient.
iv. Masturbation of the patient by the member.
v. Encouraging the patient to masturbate in the presence of the member.
vi. Touching of a sexual nature of the patient’s genitals, anus, breasts or buttocks.
- Suspend the member’s certificate of registration if the sexual abuse does not consist of or include conduct listed above and the panel has not otherwise made an order revoking the member’s certificate of registration.
In addition to the above penalties, if a panel of the Discipline Committee finds a member guilty of professional misconduct, it may do one or more of the following [Code section 51(2)]:- Direct the Registrar to revoke the member’s certificate of registration.
– Direct the Registrar to suspend the member’s certificate of registration.
– Direct the Registrar to impose specified terms, conditions and limitations on the member’s certificate of registration.
– Require the member to appear before the panel to be reprimanded
– Require the member to pay a fine of not more than $35,000 to the Minister of Finance.
– Require the member to pay all or part of the College’s legal costs and expenses, the College’s costs and expenses incurred in investigating the matter and the College’s costs and expenses incurred in conducting the hearing.
– Require the member to reimburse the College for funding provided under the program for therapy and counselling for patients.
Further, an application for reinstatement by a person whose certificate of registration was revoked for sexual abuse of a client shall not be considered earlier than five years after the revocation [section 72(3)].