Women are around 30% less likely to receive CPR than men- let’s change that

Women are around 30% less likely to receive CPR than men- let’s change that

Aaron Curran
Posted by Aaron Curran

Date: Tuesday, 19 March 2024. -  
Blog, First Aid, Defibrillators

Women who suffer a cardiac arrest in public are much less likely to receive bystander Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) than men, research has found.

A study of more than 39,000 cardiac arrests found that men are 28% more likely to receive CPR in public compared to women, but why is this?


One of the main factors in this disparity is the worry of being accused of touching a woman inappropriately/ without their consent.

Correct CPR and use of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) requires the removal of all clothing from the chest area and compressions to be given to the sternum. As a result, people may be less inclined to do this to a woman.

Another common fear is not wanting to hurt the casualty while giving CPR, with some people assuming women would be injured more easily than men.

Fear of legal action

Some people may hesitate to perform CPR in an emergency due to fear of legal action. They fear that they would be liable if something were to go wrong, this is not the case.

No one in the UK has ever been successfully sued for giving CPR, with legislation put in place to increase the likelihood of bystanders stepping in.

The SARAH Act (2015) applies here in the UK to ensure that in a case made against someone who was trying to help an individual, the judge would be obliged to consider the following:

Social Action- Was the person acting in the best interest of the casualty?

Responsibility- Was the person demonstrating a predominantly responsible approach towards protecting the safety of others?

Heroism- Was the person acting heroically by intervening in an emergency to assist an individual in danger?

In essence, the law would not punish someone who stepped in and gave someone CPR with the intention of saving their life.


Certain religions prohibit a woman from being touched by someone other than their husband or other family members. All religions place the value of life above this and giving CPR to a woman who has suffered cardiac arrest is absolutely vital to prevent death.

Changing these figures

Less than one in ten people who suffer an out of hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) survive currently, due to a combination of bystanders not being confident in their CPR skills or not wanting to intervene for other reasons.

Imperative wants to make sure that everyone has the same chance at survival if they suffer a cardiac arrest or any other medical emergency. That’s why we have been committed to providing the highest standard of first aid training for over two decades.

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