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Female National Health Service (NHS) staff groped and forced to give sexual favors: Report

Ambulances are pictured outside the Royal London Hospital in London on May 14, 2017. (AFP photo)
Female ambulance staff at the National Health Service (NHS) face widespread bullying and sexual harassment, a new report has revealed, the latest in a string of institutional sex abuse accusations in the UK.  
Women at South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (Secamb) told investigators they were asked for sexual favors in return for promotion, according to a report by researchers led by Professor Duncan Lewis from Plymouth University.
The independent report, which was commissioned by Secamb, found that female staff suffer from groping and “highly sexualized gazing” by their male colleagues and managers
“The researchers heard from several sources about "overt and covert sexualized behavior" within Secamb,” the report said.
The report said  the perpetrators include former senior leaders to frontline managers and the general workforce.
“For example, female staff talked about sexual favors being sought in return for career progression whilst others were hounded by managers seeking sexual favors for personal reasons,” it said.
Some female respondents talked about “sexual predators” among male colleagues who “groomed students” for sexual favors.
More than 40 percent of about 2,000 staff who took part in the research said they had experienced bullying in the past year.
Researchers were said to be shocked at the number of staff reporting poor behavior.
"Ignorance is no defense and too many British institutions have demonstrated failure to take matters seriously when it comes to sexual abuse,” the report concluded.
The report is the latest in a string of institutional sex abuse accusations in the United Kingdom.
The UK has been struggling to deal with a series of sexual abuse scandals that have raised doubts about how institutions, including the church, sports teams and the news media respond to those who are vulnerable to abuse.
Hundreds of British police officers have used their power to sexually abuse vulnerable people, according to a report last year by the royal Inspectorate of Constabulary.
Late last year, a child sex abuse scandal in youth football clubs rocked the country after about 350 former youth football players had come forward in November to report abuse by coaches in Britain.

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