Department of Health

Definitions of terms relating to gender sensitivity and safety

Alleged offender: A person who is alleged to have sexually abused or assaulted a person.

Authorised psychiatrist: Every approved mental health service must have an authorised psychiatrist appointed by the board of the health service. This psychiatrist has specific powers and duties under the Mental Health Act and can delegate any of these powers to another qualified psychiatrist. Consultant psychiatrists in area mental health services are routinely delegated the powers, duties and functions of the authorised psychiatrist.

Clinical incident: An event or circumstance that could have resulted, or did result, in unintended or unnecessary harm to a person receiving care. A clinical incident can be an ‘adverse event’, in which harm resulted to a person receiving care, or a ‘near miss’, which did not cause harm.

Gender-sensitive practice: Practice that recognises and responds to the differences, inequalities and specific needs of men and women and acts on this awareness.

Inappropriate sexual activity: This includes sexual assault and sexual harassment.

Independent third person (ITP): A person called by police to facilitate communication during an interview between the police and a victim, witness or suspect who police believe has a cognitive impairment. The ITP may be a close relative or friend who is not associated with the police enquiry or a volunteer trained by the Office of the Public Advocate, but not mental health service staff or the treating medical practitioner.

Re-traumatisation: Delayed onset or reactivated symptoms related to something traumatic experienced in the past – for example, domestic violence, physical or sexual abuse, rape, assault, or combat.

Sexual assault: Any behaviour of a sexual nature that is unwanted, making the victim feel uncomfortable or afraid. This includes rape, abuse, harassment and indecent assault. This behaviour can take various forms, including unwelcome kissing or touching in the areas of a person’s breasts, buttocks or genitals. Indecent assault can also include behaviour that does not involve actual touching, such as forcing somebody to watch pornography or masturbation.

Sexual disinhibition: An inability to restrain sexual impulses, involving behaviour or talk that is considered inappropriate for a particular environment.

Sexual harassment: This can be an unwelcome sexual advance, an unwelcome request for sexual favours, or other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature in relation to another person.

Sexual health: A state of physical, emotional, mental and social wellbeing related to sexuality; not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity.

Reviewed 21 March 2024


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