(Court of Protection, Hedley J, 27 January 2012)
The 29-year-old woman suffered from atypical autism and mild learning difficulties. She was reported to display highly sexualised behaviour and was disinhibited. She had engaged in sexual relations with a number of people, one of whom was convicted of a sexual offence against her, and a psychiatric report stated that the woman saw herself as unable to refuse to take part in sexual activity which, in fact, amounted to rape. The court was asked to determine whether the woman had capacity to consent to sexual relations, to marry and to make decisions about contraception.
The court declared the woman lacked capacity to consent to sexual relations but declined to make a determination regarding capacity to marry and to make decisions about contraception. The woman failed to have a sufficient understanding of the health risks involved but she would continue to receive information on the subject and her capacity would be reviewed at a later date.