Sexual harassment of Australian female general practitioners by patients

Peter A Bratuskins, Heather A McGarry and Stephen J Wilkinson
Med J Aust 2013; 199 (7): . || doi: 10.5694/mja12.11855
Published online: 7 October 2013

To the Editor: In 2010, an Australian survey was undertaken to examine the nature and extent of female general practitioners’ experience of sexual harassment by patients and how they respond to such episodes. Previous research has shown the high prevalence of sexual harassment or abuse of medical practitioners, but little is known about the nature of harassment and responses of individual practitioners.1-3

  • 1 Department of General Practice, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 2 Surrey Hills Medical Centre, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 3 Department of General Practice, Deakin University, Melbourne, VIC.


Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

  • 1. Forrest LE, Herath PM, McRae IS, Parker RM. A national survey of general practitioners’ experiences of patient-initiated aggression in Australia. Med J Aust 2011; 194: 605-608. <MJA full text>
  • 2. Phillips SP, Schneider MS. Sexual harassment of female doctors by patients. N Engl J Med 1993; 329: 1936-1939.
  • 3. Magin PJ, Adams J, Sibbritt DW, et al. Experiences of occupational violence in Australian urban general practice: a cross-sectional study of GPs. Med J Aust 2005; 183: 352-356. <MJA full text>
  • 4. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Medical labour force 2009. Canberra: AIHW, 2011. (AIHW bulletin no. 89; Cat. No. AUS 138.) ?id=10737419680 (accessed Sep 2013).
  • 5. Schneider M, Phillips SP. A qualitative study of sexual harassment of female doctors by patients. Soc Sci Med 1997; 45: 669-676.
  • 6. Gutek B, Koss M. Changed women and changed organizations: consequences of and coping with sexual harassment. J Vocat Behav 1993; 42: 28-48.


remove_circle_outline Delete Author
add_circle_outline Add Author

Do you have any competing interests to declare? *

I/we agree to assign copyright to the Medical Journal of Australia and agree to the Conditions of publication *
I/we agree to the Terms of use of the Medical Journal of Australia *
Email me when people comment on this article

Online responses are no longer available. Please refer to our instructions for authors page for more information.