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Mandatory Report of Sexual Abuse 

There is zero tolerance for sexual abuse of patients by regulated health professionals. All regulated health professionals and facility operators must report Registered Dietitians and any other regulated health professional if they have reasonable grounds, obtained in the course of delivering or administering health services, to believe that a health professional has sexually abused a patient. For the purposes of reporting, sexual abuse has a broad definition:
  • sexual intercourse or other forms of physical sexual relations between a member and a client
  • touching of a sexual nature of a client by the member
  • behaviour or remarks of a sexual nature by a member towards a client
The report must contain the following:
  • The name of the person filing the report;
  • The name of the Registered Dietitian or other health professional who is the subject of the report;
  • An explanation of the alleged sexual abuse; and
  • The name of the patient (with written consent) if the sexual abuse is particular to him or her. Please note that a report of sexual abuse under the RHPA cannot include the identity of the client unless the client gives written consent to including his or her name. 
When dealing with revelations of sexual abuse of clients, it is important for dietitians to manage them sensitively and not cause further harm. In addition, dietitians need to be aware of their legal obligations. According to the law, under the Regulated Health Professions Act:
  • A report of sexual abuse  must be made if a dietitian has reasonable grounds, obtained in the course of practising dietetics, to believe that a regulated health professional has sexually abused a patient. 
  • A report of sexual abuse cannot include the identity of the client unless the client gives written consent to including his or her name. 
  • A report of sexual abuse be made within 30 days unless there are reasonable grounds to believe that additional abuse may occur, in which case the report must be made immediately.
In the event that a Registered Dietitian sexually abuses a patient or client, the College of Dietitians of Ontario has funding available for that patient or client for counselling and therapy