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Sex and the mentally disabled – respect for autonomy, humanity and dignity

Date:24 AUG 2021
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Mary Welstead CAP Fellow Havard Law School; Visiting Professor in Family Law University of Buckingham

A young man C had Klinefelter syndrome a genetic disorder in which males have an additional X chromosome. C had developmental problems and although he was able to consent to sex he was unable to arrange it. Girlfriends would not be easy to find. He confided in his Care Act advocate and litigation friend who shared the information with C’s social worker. The Local authority applied to the Court of Protection to establish whether enabling sex for C would contravene the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (SOA 2003). With considerable empathy Hayden J held that it would not be unlawful to arrange for C to enjoy sex in a risk -free manner following the Court of Protection’s consent. C had had a psychotic episode in his youth and had made threats of a sexual nature. No details of these incidents were given but Hayden J concluded by stating that:

At the heart of this case is a young man who faces many challenges in life and whose emotional security remains...

Read the full article here.