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Mandatory Education

The Health Professions Act requires all regulated health professionals to complete mandatory training aiming to protect patients from sexual abuse and sexual misconduct by regulated health professionals. Registered physiotherapists and applicants must familiarize themselves with the College of Physiotherapists of Alberta’s resources and achieve the following learning objectives:

  1. “Who is a patient” as defined by the Sexual Abuse and Sexual Misconduct Standard of Practice.
  2. Why and how the standard of practice and guides for protecting patients from sexual abuse or misconduct are relevant to your practice.

Physiotherapists can achieve the learning objectives by completing the following.


Resources the College of Physiotherapists of Alberta developed to protect you and your patients:

Who is a patient?

Protecting patients from sexual abuse or misconduct


The AFRHP program does not save your progress; therefore, you may choose to print the certificate upon completion for your own records; the College of Physiotherapists of Alberta does not require a copy of the certificate. 

Guiding questions

After you’ve read the resources, take a few minutes to consider, either on your own or with co-workers, how this information informs your behaviors within your practice environment. We’ve given you some guiding questions.

Standard of Practice: Sexual Abuse and Sexual Misconduct

  • Do you understand when an individual you have treated would be considered to still be your patient, even though you have not seen them for treatment recently?
  • Are there situations where you encounter patients, as defined by the Standard, in social situations? What steps might you take to mitigate any risks that such encounters may pose to you?

Protecting Patients from Sexual Abuse or Misconduct Guide

  • Were you surprised by the reported prevalence of sexual abuse in Canada? How will this knowledge affect how you interact with patients or others in the clinical environment?
  • Looking back on past patient interactions, can you think of a time when a patient did not react as expected to something you said or did in the context of physiotherapy care? Could a patient history of sexual abuse explain the patient’s reactions? What would you do differently if faced with the situation again?
  • Are there activities you engage in in your clinical practice which could re-traumatize a patient who is a survivor of sexual abuse? With this realization, how will you modify your approach to avoid re-traumatizing your future patients?

Protecting Patients from Sexual Abuse or Misconduct: what can patients expect from their physiotherapist (A Guide)

  • What factors in your practice contribute to the power imbalance between you and your patients? What do you do to try to minimize the imbalance?
  • What strategies could you implement to make your patients feel less vulnerable, and thereby minimize the power imbalance between patient and physiotherapist?
  • Are there clinical practices that you engage in that could be misinterpreted by a patient? What steps have you taken to ensure that the physiotherapy purpose of these activities is clear to the patient and that you have the patient’s consent to engage in the activity?

Page updated: 20/02/2024