Sexual Exploitation by Helping Professionals...

 

Sexual Exploitation by Helping Professionals

Sexual exploitation by a helping professional: sexual contact of any kind between a helping professional (doctor, therapist, teacher, priest, professor, police officer, lawyer, etc.) and a client/patient.

There are three major types of sexual involvement between a client/patient and a professional:

  1. Sexual activity in the context of a professional treatment, evaluation, or service
  2. Seual activity with the implication that it has therapeutic benefit
  3. A sexually exploitative relationship

Why it is not acceptable behavior:

Within the Therapeutic Relationship:

Issue of Transference:

Common Reactions:

Very Low Report Rate:

3 Ways to Take Action:

  1. Licensing board complaints- Standards vary by state and profession. Possible punishments include suspension or revocation of a license or rehabilitation programs. In these cases the client's confidentiality is protected in any public reports of the proceedings.
  2. Civil lawsuits- Client hires his or her own attorney and sues the therapist directly. Usually this is the only way to receive payment for damages. Procedures are public, and the burden of proof is on the client.
  3. Criminal proceedings- An option in some states. In these cases, the state prosecutes (State v. Therapist). The best possible outcome is a criminal sanction (probation, incarceration).