The Health Professions Act provides additional requirements for the CAA when dealing with complaints of sexual abuse or sexual misconduct.
Sexual abuse is defined as: the threatened, attempted or actual conduct of a regulated member towards a patient that is of a sexual nature and includes any of the following conduct,
- Sexual intercourse between a regulated member and a patient of that regulated member,
- Genital to genital, genital to anal, oral to genital, or oral to anal contact between a regulated member and a patient of the regulated member,
- Masturbation of a regulated member by, or in the presence of, a patient of that regulated member,
- Masturbation of a regulated member by that regulated member,
- Encouraging a regulated member’s patient or masturbate in the presence of that regulated member, or
- Touching of a sexual nature of a patient’s genitals, anus, breasts or buttocks by a regulated member.
Sexual misconduct is defined as: any incident or repeated incidents of objectionable or unwelcome conduct, behavior or remarks of a sexual nature by a regulated member towards a patient that the regulated member knows or ought to reasonably know will or would cause offence or humiliation to the patient or adversely affect the patient’s health and well-being but does not include sexual abuse.
Sexual Nature does not include any conduct behavior or remarks that are appropriate to the service provided.
A Patient is any individual who seeks health services from a registered acupuncturist and has provided their personal health information and who the registered acupuncturist has undertaken consultation, diagnosis &/or treatment.
What to expect
Once the CAA receives a complaint about a member that relates to sexual abuse or sexual misconduct,
- A staff member will contact the complainant to discuss the process,
- The complainant and regulated member will be advised that an investigation into the complaint will be conducted. Complaints may not be resolved through an informal process.
- The complainant will be provided with information regarding eligibility for treatment and funding for counseling along with information about the program,
- A thorough investigation will be conducted and an investigation report will be submitted to the complaints director for a decision regarding whether or not there is sufficient evidence of sexual abuse or sexual misconduct,
- The complaint director will advise the complainant and the member of the decision which can be to dismiss the complaint or to refer the complaint to a hearing,
- If the complaint has been referred to a hearing, the Notice of Hearing will contain the specific allegations of sexual abuse or sexual misconduct,
- The complainant may be required to provide evidence as a witness and they will be given an opportunity to provide a victim impact statement
- The hearing will be open to the public, but there may be consideration to closing all or a portion of the hearing as appropriate,
- The tribunal will make a decision to either dismiss the complaint if the evidence is insufficient or to impose conditions if there is a finding of unprofessional conduct.
- Some conditions are mandatory. If there is a finding of sexual abuse, there is a mandatory cancellation of the member’s permit. If there is a finding of sexual misconduct this requires a mandatory suspension of the member’s practice permit. Additional appropriate conditions will be imposed.
Patient relations program
A patient/complainant is eligible for funding for relevant treatment &/or counseling. They will be required to consent to the treatment.
- Funding may only be used to pay for treatment/counseling related to the complaint and provided by a licensed therapist or counsellor.
- Homewood Health has been contracted to provide this service to CAA complainants and they will be provided with information confirming a complainant’s eligibility for funding & counseling.
- Funding can only be provided to a maximum of $22,500 or for a maximum term of 5 years, whichever comes first.
- Funding will be discontinued if the complaint is dismissed by the complaints director or a tribunal makes a dismissal finding. The complaint is not required to repay funds already expended.
There are a number of resources that are available to help you obtain the supports and resources that you need:
- Standard of Practice- Sexual Abuse/Misconduct
- Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services www.aasas.ca
- My Health Alberta (search “sexual assault” or “sexual abuse”)
- Health Link Alberta- Dial 811
- Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton www.sace.ca
- Calgary Communities Against Sexual Abuse www.calgarycasa.com
- Calgary Sexual Assault Response Team information line 403.955.6030
- Mental Health Help Line 1.877.303.2642
- Connect: Family & Sexual Abuse Network www.connectnetwork.ca
- 211 Alberta (24 hour information and referral service- search “sexual assault” or “sexual abuse”)
- You can also reach 211 Alberta call centres toll-free by calling
- Calgary: Central and Southern Alberta 1.855.266.1605
- Edmonton: Northern Alberta 1.888.482.4696