Professor Searle presents her study of the mindsets of perpetrators in order to better identify ways to reduce the vulnerability of service users and employing organisations.

Wednesday 11 September 2019
Conference Room
Rosalind Searle; Professor in Human Resource Management and Organisational Psychology; University of Glasgow


Sexual exploitation of service users is a concern in any organisation, be it an international aid organisation or a health provider. In both these contexts the service user is potentially more vulnerable to exploitation by perpetrators. Misconduct by professionals, particularly sexual violations, destroys trust in them but also damages current and future trust in their employing organisations and in wider institutions (O’Donohue, Downs et al. 1998).

This study is unusual as it explores the mindsets of sexual perpetrators in order to identify better the means to reduce the vulnerability of service users and employing organisations. Building on a prior study within a health context (Searle, Rice et al. 2017), this study paper explores sexual abuse, a form of professional misconduct that transgresses not only professional codes, but also deviates for accepted societal behavioural norms. The focus of analysis are the moral mindsets of 232 health professionals charged with sexual misconduct.

The paper will highlight the value of studying perpetrators and their understanding about what has occurred, as well as the evidence relating to these events. Professor Searle will highlight important differences between professions and also genders about this form of misconducts and from this the steps that organisations can take to protect service users, but also to empower coworkers to more successfully intervene and challenge perpetrators.

Further Information