This report aims to discuss a case of gender harassment that took place in Australia and reported to Medical Board. The incident was unexpected as well as shocking that clearly oppose the moral value and code of ethics of the professional psychiatrist. The report analyses the various aspects associated to a social context of an ethical issue. It discusses the issue in various aspects like professional, moral, social and legal perspectives. It researches a real world ethical breach and finally recommends an appropriate intervention based on professional codes of ethics and relevant policy and legislation in Australia.
The report identifies a real world unethical case of a renowned psychiatrist whose registration was suspended after his conviction for an unlawful as well as indecent assault to three vulnerable female patients. This news has been reported in the health complaint entity of Australia in 10th November 2017 (Medicalboard.gov.au, 2017).
A former psychiatrist named Mr Julian Norman Grant Kent has been convicted of offensive assault and reprimanded by The South Australian Health Practitioner Tribunal. The tribunal has suspended his registration for a long time since January 2012. Following an investigation against him, the Medical Board of Australia had filed a complaint alleging that the psychiatrist had a sexual relationship with his three vulnerable female patients. However, before the tribunal, the accuse had admitted his misconduct. In case of first patient, the psychiatrist had been treating her for long five years. She was a patient of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). This mean, the patient had experienced different personality alters and her disease was a response to psychological, physical and sexual abuse as a child. In case of the second patient, she was under treatment for 18 months and continuously being abused. The third patient was under treatment for long 20 years for her anorexia nervosa which are expression of anxiety and depression. This particular psychiatrist had been indulging sexual intercourse in his consulting room or different places. However, the magistrate had come across the charge sheet and investigation against Mr Julian Norman Grant Kent.
During ensuing tribunal proceedings which was brought by the Medical Board of Australia, Mr Kent sustained to maintain denial. For that matter he admitted that he behaved in such a way that could be constituted professional misbehaviour. In this case he failed to practise in agreement with clause 8.1 of ‘Good Medical Practice: A Code of Conduct in Australia’. Mr Julian Norman Grant Kent had also admitted that it was because of that conviction that compelled him for not displaying a good standard of behaviour therefore it brought defame in his community as well as breech in trust associated with his noble profession.
The tribunal did not consider any kind of mitigation factor that included the stressors in the life of the accuse at the time of that offence. The tribunal also did not pay heed to Mr Julian Norman Grant Kent’s reputation to be a law abiding citizen and his remorse regarding this offence. The magistrate admonished him and ordered that he had been permanently disqualified from applying for registration as a medical practitioner and permanently prohibited him from providing any health services that use his skills and knowledge gained as a medical practitioner. The tribunal found Mr Kent’s behaviour constituted professional misconduct therefore, ordered him to pay $2500 towards the cost by the medical board and his registration as a renowned medical practitioner was suspended in 2012 (Decisions.justice.wa.gov.au, 2017).
This complaint to the medical board of Australia has various aspects to analyse. First of which is the professional aspect. There are different complaints launched against men sexually harassing a woman in a public place but same kind of experience cannot be expected from a medical practitioner. the reputation associated with this profession does not match with such misconduct. From a social point of view this issue is a grave problem across the world (Espelage, 2016). The women are vulnerable in every part of the society and devoid of proper righteousness. This particular issue can be seen from the gender difference point of view. Numerous studies found the gender differences in the judgements about any sexual harassments (Schadewaldt, et al., 2016). Finally, the ethical or moral aspect associated with this issue cannot be left undiscussed.
There are mainly three perspectives that helps to view various phenomenon in the human society. These social perspectives help in answering numerous confusions related to human behaviour. The three major theories are functionalist perspective, conflict perspective and symbolic interactionist perspective. Under functional perspective, the systems in the societies are interconnected with each other and any imbalance in this structure result to various dysfunctions (Holland et al., 2016). Elements of the society that contributes in social stabilization, can also prove to be harmful for society. For example, crime is associated with physical violence that leads to increase fear for loss of life and property. On the other hand, crime discloses the heighten awareness of communal moral bonds as well as enhanced social cohesion. In this case study, the symbolic interaction perspective is more dominating. This theory revolves round the idea of the social psychological dynamics of the individuals affect the social imbalance.
According to this theory Symbolic interactionism echoes the micro-sociological perspectives. The sociologists like George Simmel, Herbert Mead and Charles Cooley emphasised that individual behaviour is effected by the definitions that are built by the Symbolic interaction with other people (Cuesta-Briand et al., 2014). The consequences are suggested by sociologists that individual responses their situations rather than to the objective situation itself. Therefore, real becomes real in consequences. The human identity or self is always shaped by one’s social interactions. Actually people see a reflection of his like Looking glass self.
In recent news, people come across various reports of gender harassment in different professions. For such behaviour people feel offended, intimated and humiliated. Gender harassment can be of different kinds. It can be verbal, physical, visual or written. Harassments are covered in workplaces, work related events and between colleagues outside the work place. In workplaces women come across various gender harassments like generalised sexist behaviour or statements like obscene humour, offensive graffiti, insulting remarks that bear a degrading attitudes against them (Galdi, Maass & Cadinu, 2014). They also face unwanted, inappropriate sexual advances. In such cases, women do not object to such inappropriate behaviour immediately it does not convey any message that they are consenting to such assaults. The assault in hospital is somehow different but relates with the noble profession where medical persons continue misconducting with either patients or other associates (Nye, Brummel & Drasgow, 2014). In the hospitals numerous reports are issued of assault by the psychiatrists and even surgeons to their female patients. They are often charged for giving the patients powerful anaesthetic and then taking opportunity for assaulting her. The records reveal that across the world there are numerous examples where psychotherapists psychiatrists, social workers and even psychiatrists of renown hospitals and clinics, have been registered sex offenders. They often bargain to serve jail instead of registration suspension (Spector, Zhou & Che, 2014). This is a case of sexual imposition which is very common these days. She asked for justice which usually avoided by most of the victims. In most of the cases, the victims avoid legal problems related to court as well as police systems. In this case the women are justified with suspension of medical registration of that psychiatrist.
The conflict perspective finds the society as poised with different groups. These groups are always conflicting for self-interest to acquire power as well as resources. This conflict perspective clarifies different aspects of the social world by observing at which assemblies have power including benefits from a specific social arrangement (Singla, 2015). For an example it can be said that feminist theory contends with the aspect of society where people live in the patriarchal society. It has a specific hierarchical system of organization which is chiefly controlled by men. Therefore, it can be said that in such social structure, power imbalance is one of the chief reasons of social discrimination and violence against women. Although there are different varieties of feminist theory and most of them demand for changing existing social, economic, political structure (Battisti et al., 2015). In this case, the gender imbalance is implicit. The man considered the women patients to be physically weak therefore, he dominated and violated all ethical and social concerns associated with human behaviour in public places. Such problems will be overcome if women are empowered legally and socially and given required priority.
The studies regarding the legal mobilization always focus on the people who have already perceived wrong but the society never consider them to be included in the process of building potential mobilizers. In similar way, studies of victimization analyses the ways of protests of the victims. It also considers the reasons why few of the victims come forward and launch their charges against the criminal where as others remain silent about the misconduct against them or fear to response on perceiving injustices (Kurpad & Bhide, 2017). There is a need for legal consciousness among people. The Theories of legal consciousness identify cultural as well social-psychological factors that shapes the perceptions of justice.
Gender harassment have been recognized as a type of gender discrimination since 1970s. with the development of legal as well as scholarly understating of sexual harassment, informal public opinion and understanding also increased. The working individuals face difficulty in reciting the legal definitions of any kind of gender harassment but many have strong yet abstract comprehension of this concept (Sanggaran, Ferguson & Haire, 2014). Popular films as well as publications have addressed the aspects of sexual harassment which contribute its pervasiveness in public awareness. The strong public association of this issue with legality analyses the connection among targeting, legal awareness and mobilization. The legal analysis describes the assaulting situation faced by the women in management, injustice and sexual freedom structure. It also analyses the harassment policies and its changes. According to research, smallest amount of oppositional consciousness can ring huge changes in the policies.
The legal consciousness for protesting against any insulting incident varies with changes in demography, society, race as well as gender (Beyens & Lievens, 2016). According to the psychoanalysts, putting blame on the victims only will lead to an incomplete and potentially distorted analysis of gender harassment perpetration. Therefore, proper investigation is needed in discussing the charge against the accuse. In such cases the legal procedures check the incident and remain critical to assess risks, craft policy interventions, and understand why some of the targets come forward while others do not (Thomae & Pina, 2015). The issue of legal aspects in the case discussed above can be analysed generally. The women are more likely to define the social as well as emotional supports that they gain from the family or friends while most of the male describe the career related advantages of friends. They suggest that close colleagues may facilitate the mobilization for women greatly than for the men. The detailed description of harassment experiences in this case has been recorded analytically where there are numerous differences in the statement of both accuse and the victim.
In case of the first patient, there is an issue of child maltreatment by his psychiatrist and urges for socially sensitive research. Scientists elaborate in child maltreatment readings must confront ethical as well as legal questions similar to those that arise on other socially sensitive topics that sometimes include criminal activities, for example, research on matter abuse behaviours, sexual behaviours as well as violence. Abusing a child or any female patient is unexpected from a medical practitioner as he is anticipated to get them well instead in this case he is indulged in highly unethical issue.
According to the Medical Board of Australia, all the psychiatrists who are registered to practice medicine within the territory must abide by the features of good medical practice recorded tin the Good medical practice (the code). It describes the ethical standard as well as expected professional conduct from the registered psychiatrists by their community along with the dependents. The code of ethics was formed by consulting to the medical professional as well as the community (Farnan et al., 2013). Therefore, it addresses the psychiatrists along with the community so that they can have opportunity to know their limitations of expectation from the registered psychiatrists. Despite the fact that the application of the code will be varying according to different circumstances, the principles will be same. It does not set newer standards but brings together all the standards of core of medical practice. It is granted that the medical practice is challenging but also rewarding. No code and guidelines can encompass each and every situation and replace the insights as well as professional judgment of the good psychiatrists. According to the code of ethics for the psychiatrists, Good medical practice refers to proper using of these judgements to practise in such a way that aim to meet the expected standards (Medicalboard.gov.au, 2017).
In the Good medical practice, the Australian board of medicine records ethical slandered of professional behaviour of a psychiatrist. This guidelines state that the psychiatrists must be displaying a good slandered of behaviour in order to earn trust as well as respect from the community. These include proper observation and practice the principles of ethical conduct. It emphasises on the core characteristics and qualities of the good psychiatrists. This is outlined in Professional values and qualities of psychiatrists Section 1.4. There are different boundaries that are integral part of the code of ethics. The professional boundaries must be maintained by individual psychiatrists and they are not allowed to convey any personal beliefs in order to exploit the patient’s vulnerability as well as cause their distress (McLean, Stewart & Kerridge, 2015). The most important aspect of this ethical code is related to the case study. It states that no psychiatrist is allowed to use their professional position for establishing or perusing a sexual, manipulative or any other inappropriate connection with either patients or anybody under their care. The dependents such as such as the patient’s carer, guardian and spouse or even a child patient (General Assembly of the World Medical Association, 2014). Particular guidelines have been formed on sexual restrictions by the Medical Board of Australia under Australian National Law. There is a scope for Seeking guidance from the Australian Medical Board as well as their professional seniors if anybody is unsure about his obligations. However, the accuse in the case study was penalised for his misconduct and penalised accordingly.
Therefore, it can be concluded that the sexual harassment is against law of any country. Such kind of harassment must be responded, protested reported to law. In this case study, the psychiatrist had committed a crime which was reported to the law through there were some incompatible statements from both the end. The repost has analysed the incident from social, professional, sexual and ethical perspectives and discussed the legal framework associated with this incident in detail. Finally, it reaches to the conclusion that the victims must be reporting such incident to law without any hesitation.
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