Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Sexual rights, mental disorder and intellectual disability: practical implications for policy makers and practitioners

  • Helen Dewson (a1), Keith J. B. Rix (a2), Isabelle Le Gallez (a3) and Kartina A. Choong (a4)
Summary

Clear policies regarding sexual expression, sexual behaviour and related decision-making assist in ensuring that the rights of people with mental disorder or intellectual disability are upheld, and that staff know how to react to situations consistently and lawfully without interfering on the basis of their own moral judgements or personal beliefs. Sensitive and holistic planning of care that complies with domestic law, international human rights law and statutory guidance is necessary to complement such policies. Non-intimate physical contact, masturbation, sexual relationships, contraception, sterilisation and vasectomy, pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, sexual dysfunction, parenthood, marriage and civil partnership, divorce, prostitution, pornography, and sex aids and toys are all matters that may properly be part of care planning.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

  • Understand the limited legal basis for the formulation of policies and rules concerning sexual expression, sexual behaviour and related decision-making by people with mental disorder or intellectual disability
  • Be able to formulate policies concerning sexual matters as they relate to people with mental disorder or intellectual disability
  • Be able to plan care for psychiatric patients and community service users balancing their rights to sexual fulfilment with the protection of their own welfare and the protection of others

DECLARATION OF INTEREST

None.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Correspondence Helen Dewson, Legal Services, Endeavour House, Ipswich IP1 2BX, UK. Email: helendewson@gmail.com
References
Hide All
Bartlett, P, Mantovani, N, Cratsley, K, et al. (2010) ‘You may kiss the bride, but you may not open your mouth when you do so’: policies concerning sex, marriage and relationships in English forensic psychiatric facilities. Liverpool Law Review, 31: 155–76.
Care Quality Commission (2017) Brief Guide: The Use of ‘Blanket Restrictions’ in Mental Health Wards. CQC.
Cheshire County Council, Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (2015) Social, Personal & Sexual Relationships Good Practice Guidance (CP44, issue no. 1). Cheshire County Council.
Craft, A (1987) Mental handicap and sexuality: Issues for individuals with a mental handicap, their parents and professionals. In Mental Handicap and Sexuality: Issues and Perspectives (ed A Craft). DJ Costello.
Department of Health (2015) Mental Health Act 1983: Code of Practice. TSO (The Stationery Office).
Fyson, R (2015) Promoting sexualities and protecting from abuse. In Sexuality and Relationships in the Lives of People with Intellectual Disabilities: Standing in My Shoes (eds Chapman, R, Ledger, S, Townson, L): 163–72. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Hughes, E, Gray, R (2009) HIV prevention for people with serious mental illness: a survey of health workers’ attitudes, knowledge and practice. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 18: 591600.
Le Gallez, I, Rix, KJB, Choong, KA, et al. (2018) Sexual rights, mental disorder and intellectual disability: principles and law. BJPsych Advances, 24: 334–45.
Royal College of Psychiatrists (1996) Sexual Abuse and Harassment in Psychiatric Settings (Council Report CR52). Royal College of Psychiatrists.
Siebers, T (2012) A sexual culture for disabled people. In Sex and Disability (eds McRuer, R, Mollows, A). Duke University Press.
Tiwana, R, McDonald, S, Völlm, B (2016) Policies on sexual expression in forensic psychiatric settings in different European countries. International Journal of Mental Health Systems, 10(5): 111.
Warner, J, Pitts, N, Crawford, MJ (2004) Sexual activity among patients in psychiatric hospital wards. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 97: 477–9.
Gillick v Wisbech and West Norfolk Health Authority [1986] 1 AC 112.
Kay v Lambeth LBC [2006] UKHL 10.
McCann v State Hospitals Board for Scotland [2017] UKSC 31, [2017] MHLO 22.
Pretty v United Kingdom (2002) 35 EHRR 1.
R v Broadmoor Special Hospital Authority (1998) WL 1044171.
R v Home Secretary, ex p. Leech [1994] QB 198, CA.
R(N) v Secretary of State for Health [2009] EWCA Civ 795.
R(RH) v Ashworth Hospital Authority [2001] EWHC Admin 872.
Re MM, Local Authority X v MM and KM [2007] EWHC 2003.
Re SS [2001] 1 FLR 445.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

BJPsych Advances
  • ISSN: 2056-4678
  • EISSN: 2056-4686
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-advances
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed

Sexual rights, mental disorder and intellectual disability: practical implications for policy makers and practitioners

  • Helen Dewson (a1), Keith J. B. Rix (a2), Isabelle Le Gallez (a3) and Kartina A. Choong (a4)
Submit a response

eLetters

No eLetters have been published for this article.

×

Reply to: Submit a response


Your details


Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *