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29 September 2023 | Podcasts | Article by Alan Collins

Sexual abuse within medical settings

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In this episode the team discuss the subject of sexual abuse in medical settings, as female surgeons report being sexually harassed, assaulted and raped by senior male surgeons in the workplace.

A new study (titled ‘Breaking the Silence’ written by the University of Exeter, the University of Surrey and the Working Party on Sexual Misconduct in Surgery) highlighted a pattern of trainees being abused by senior male surgeons. The Royal College of Anaesthetists called the research “deeply shocking and concerning”.

Dr Peter Hilton recently published a letter in the Times Newspaper, commenting on sexual abuse that female surgeons face in the workplace, which sparked fury and disgust amongst many. The doctor described young doctors as the “snowflake generation” that are “largely female” and “selected on mainly academic excellence. Not only are the comments made derogatory, but hugely sexist and misogynistic too.

Questions have arose as to how a man of such views ever ended up in a position of power such as his until he retired at 71 years old. His letter simply reflects an outdated culture of misogyny and bullying, and highlights the work that needs to be done in ensuring a safe working environment for medical staff.

We encourage anyone who has concerns about sexual abuse to get in touch with our specialist sexual abuse lawyers.

Author bio

Alan Collins


Alan Collins is one of the best known and most experienced solicitors in the field of child abuse litigation and has acted in many high profile cases, including the Jimmy Savile and Haut de la Garenne abuse scandals.  Alan has represented interested parties before public inquiries including the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry, and IICSA (Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse).

Internationally, Alan works in Australia, South East Asia, Uganda, Kenya, and California representing clients in high profile sexual abuse cases. Alan also spoke at the Third Regional Workshop on Justice for Children in East Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok hosted by Unicef and HCCH (Hague Conference on Private International Law).

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.


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