Sexual Misconduct

NLCRT Position Statement: Sexual Misconduct


The Newfoundland and Labrador College of Respiratory Therapists recognizes there are no circumstances in which sexualized conduct in the current therapist-patient relationship is acceptable. Sexual misconduct is antithetical to our standards and ideals and will not be tolerated.


Sexual misconduct incorporates a range of behaviours including rape, sexual assault (which includes any kind of non-consensual sexual contact), sexual harassment, intimate partner violence, stalking, and any other conduct of a sexual nature that is non-consensual, or has the purpose or effect of threatening, intimidating, or coercing a person or persons.


Sexual misconduct is a spectrum encompassing the whole range of inappropriate therapist-patient interactions of a sexual nature including the following examples:


• Voyeurism as may be expressed by inappropriate disrobing or draping practices that reflect a lack of respect for the patient's privacy.

• Subjecting a patient to an examination in the presence of students or other parties without the consent of the patient or when consent has been withdrawn.

• Inappropriate comments about or to the patient, including making sexual comments about the patient's body or clothing.

• Inappropriate comments about the patient's sexual orientation (homosexual, heterosexual or bisexual).

• Requesting details of sexual history or sexual preference in any situation when this is inappropriate.

• Inappropriate body contact, including hugging of a sexual nature and kissing.

• Touching or massaging breasts, genitals or anus, or any other sexualized body part for any purpose other than appropriate physical examination or treatment.


This list is not exhaustive. Respiratory Therapists should always keep in mind a patient's perception of what might constitute sexual misconduct, recognizing that this can vary widely from individual to individual. Communicating what will be done and why it is needed can help alleviate misperceptions, ensure cooperation and reduce the risk of patients perceiving procedures as inappropriate or abusive.