Confidentiality is Central to a Robust Reporting Procedure

Workplaces should be safe

silhouette-woman-profileEveryone should feel safe in their workplace – free from bullying, intimidation and harassment of any kind. Where it does occur procedures are in place so that an employee may report concerns they have. In most cases those who are members of a trade union will do it through their shop steward or union representative. Others may confide in a trusted colleague and proceed from there.

In all these scenarios to make a complaint the person must feel confident that the information they are sharing will be 1. kept confidential and 2. be acted upon. They should also be offered support and there are many organisations across Scotland  able to do this.

Most places of work have very clear guidelines on how to treat confidential information and complaints. For example the Civil Service has a code which all of their employees must adhere to. All local authorities have employment codes, including advice on grievance procedures and whistleblowing.

Confidentiality is extremely important to all concerned when a person comes forward with a complaint as a result of issues arising in their place of work . If there is no confidentiality then it is extremely difficult for anyone to feel they can trust the system enough to come forward with a concern.

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is a very serious crime. Victims of an attack may first seek support from the many excellent organisations in Scotland who can help them. Rape Crisis Scotland is one such organisation and it can put them in contact with a local group if they would like to talk to them.

Victim support organisations will not make a person go to the police with a complaint. That is for the individual themselves to decide. The exception to this is if a child is involved.

Domestic Abuse and Coercive Control

Police Scotland have engaged in training in recognising the effects of coercive control. This form of abuse is difficult to identify and often goes ‘unseen’ by family and friends of the victim. Scotland will have a new Act in 2019 which will recognise the harmful effects of coercive control – the psychological and emotional abuse of a victim.

The Importance of Confidentiality

Central to the reporting and support for all those who feel they have experienced or are continuing to suffer bullying, harassment, sexual assault and coercive control is the need for confidentiality. The complainant or victim must feel that they can trust the system to respect their privacy. The details they have shared may be extremely embarrassing to them and their families. It may affect their mental well being if these became public knowledge. The only way details of such a nature should be made public would be if the accused is charged by Police Scotland and the offences described in a court of law. When this is to take place the complainant should be offered support before any details are made public.


Rape Crisis Scotland: 08088 01 03 02 free phone line -6pm to midnight

Mind: lots of helpful information and support

Reporter: Fiona Grahame

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