Aged care nurses’ perception of unwanted sexual behaviour in Australian residential aged care services

Daisy E. Smith, Meghan T. Wright, Joseph E. Ibrahim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Objectives: To explore aged care nurses’ awareness and experience of unwanted sexual behaviour (USB) in residential aged care services (RACS). Methods: An anonymous online questionnaire was administered to an opportunistic sample of RACS nurses enrolled to complete an e-learning course in Australia. From the 167 participants who expressed interest to enrol, 129 were eligible and 53 returned completed consent forms. Results: 46/53 responded of which most were females (41/45, 91.1%). Few respondents reported resident-resident USB (<35%) or staff-resident USB (<22%) happened once a year. Most respondents had not been informed by a resident of USB (>75%) or had personally reported USB within their internal reporting system (>77%). Respondents were also unaware if their facility had lodged an incident report to the regulator or law enforcement authorities within the past 12 months (34/46, 73.9%). Finally, most considered there to be no barriers to reporting USB (35/46, 77.8%). Conclusions: Respondents’ awareness and estimates of USB directed at residents were much lower than known national prevalence rates. This lack of awareness could be a substantive barrier to recognition and optimal management of this form of abuse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-159
Number of pages7
JournalAustralasian Journal on Ageing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


  • residential aged care
  • sexual violence
  • staff awareness
  • staff perceptions
  • unwanted sexual behaviour

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