Reasons to consider a complaint
Generally, the best way to protect yourself is to notify others: reach out to a family member, friend, co-worker, or other trusted individual. Making a professional abuse complaint through a formal process is a way to notify even more people, especially those who have the authority to make changes. Also, for some people there is no one but the complaint process; it’s their only form of protection.
It is important to speak out when a situation has become too close or twisted for the patent (client, student, or similar) to be able to effectively address on his or her own.
Report a trusted advisor or helping professional for any of the following:
- Sexual contact with a patient
- Violating the patient’s confidentiality
- Providing services for which the individual has not been trained or licensed
- Drug abuse
- Fraud or other crimes
- False advertising
- Paying or accepting payment for patient referral
- Unprofessional, unethical, or negligent acts
- Focusing therapy on the licensee’s/registrant’s own problems, rather than the patient’s
- Serving in multiple roles, i.e., having social relationships with patients, lending them money, employing them, etc.
Know your options
- Learn about your rights.
- Visit or call your local county law library.
- Make a written log of all the incidents with date, time, any witnesses and locations.
- Write the ex-advisor stating specific complaints.
- Call the ex-advisor to discuss the complaints.
- Notify the employer, agency director, or church hierarchy.
- Request a mediation session with a qualified mediator.
- Arrange for private compensation for damages.
- Report to county patient advocacy office or state authorities.
- File a licensure complaint.
- File a complaint with the ethics committee of a professional association.
- File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.
- File a civil suit for damages.
- File a criminal complaint to law enforcement.
- Seek out advocacy groups or peers who have suffered similarly.
- Seek compensation from the state victims’ fund: California Victim Compensation Fund.
- Do nothing at all.