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Record ID: ecc3acf6-8c78-4cf4-bda6-a8a39ed8fd01
Type: Journal Article
Title: Evaluation of an online course for prevention of unwanted sexual behaviour in residential aged care services—A pilot study
Authors: Ibrahim, Joseph E.
Smith, Daisy E.
Wright, Meghan T.
Pham, Tony H.
ANRA Topic: Health, primary care and specialist service responses
ANRA Population: Older women
People with disability
Categories: ANROWS Completed Register of Active Research projects
Year: 2021
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
Abstract:  Background
Residential aged care services (RACS) staff have substantial gaps in knowledge to prevent and manage unwanted sexual behaviour (USB) in RACS.

This study aimed to explore the feasibility of a pilot online course (intervention) addressing USB in RACS.

Development of a self-guided e-learning educational course was based on existing research, national and international approaches to human rights approaches to sexual assault and underwent internal and external peer review. An anonymous, online, cross-sectional survey was conducted post-intervention completion. RAC-Communiqué subscribers were recruited via an e-invitation. English speaking enrolled or registered nurses, employed in an Australian RACS, were eligible. From the 167 participants who expressed interest to enrol, 129 were eligible and 45 returned completed consent forms. Fifteen survey items regarding perceived competence and intervention satisfaction were analysed.

The intervention addressed content pertaining to staffs’ legal and regulatory requirements, managing incidents and awareness of key services. Thirty-eight of 45 eligible participants responded (84.4%). Participants reported they would recommend the intervention to a colleague (n = 36, 97.3%). Participants self-reported (i) advanced learning post-completion; (ii) raised awareness (n = 29, 78.4%) (iii) prompted current practice reflection (n = 35, 94.6%) and (iv) prompted improving USB workplace management (n = 34, 91.9%). Results are subjected to social desirability bias.

The intervention was relevant, engaging and practical. The findings contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of the specific training topics relevant and useful to RACS staff.

Implication for practice
E-learning tools could be an effective teaching method for USB in RACS. The intervention may be a useful tool to encourage staff to reflect and change current practice.

The research has concluded and the output has been added to the ANROWS library. Please visit for more information on the RAR.


The Health Law and Ageing Research Unit is the only group in Australia with a dedicated, coordinated and multidisciplinary approach with technical expertise in aged care, law, health care, public health, injury prevention and public policy focused on residential aged care services (RACS).

It is estimated that over 50 incidents of sexual assault occur in aged care each week nationally. Findings from the recent Royal Commission into Australian RACS highlighted that there is not only a limited understanding of unwanted sexual behaviour (USB) in RACS but that there also are substantial gaps to prevent and manage USB in RACS.


This study aimed to develop, implement and evaluate an online educational course for aged care nurses on detecting, managing and preventing USB between residents in Australian RACS.


An anonymous, online, cross-sectional population survey was provided to all participants who were enrolled to complete an intervention educational online course, "Preventing unwanted sexual behaviour in residential aged care". After course completion, participants completed a post-intervention survey which tested any change to knowledge, attitude, awareness, experience of and behaviour towards USB in RACS. The post-test instrument also tested participant satisfaction with the course structure and content.


To our knowledge, this is the first developed and evaluated course specific to USB in RACS for aged care nurses in Australia. Our course was very well received, with participants believing it to be engaging, relevant and practical. Results suggest that online USB in RACS education is feasible. Results further indicate the developed course holds promising potential as a valuable training tool. More research is needed to reveal if such training improves specific resident outcomes.


Department of Health and Human Services, Seniors, Ageing and Aged Care Branch, Health and Wellbeing Division, Victoria and Department of Forensic Medicine, Monash University


April 2020


June 2021

Appears in Collections:Journal Articles

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