The Court continues to grapple with the difficult issues that arise out of the sexual exploitation of people (usually women) with mental health problems, and the extent to which abuse is relevant to whether they have capacity to consent to sexual relations at all.

In the Yorkshire case, Mr. Justice Cobb had to consider a relatively young woman with frontal lobe dementia, who acquiescence in the sexual to a stranger called into question her capacity to consent sexual relations at all. Also, the judge accepted evidence that the woman the case concerned was able to make decisions about contact with her husband because her memory of her feelings she had for him, whereas she could not make the same decision about a stranger. This was reflected in the declarations made. VIEW HERE.

In the Leicester case, Mary was a life long victim of sexual abuse, to the extent that she was not capable to make decisions about sexual relations. The Court considered that she lacked capacity and therefore the local authority must now prevent her from engaging in sexual relations. Simon Burrows on behalf of Mary instructed by the Official Solicitor had argued that she should be treated as a vulnerable person, and the inherent jurisdiction should be used- thereby enabling her to have sexual relations having been supported to make a capacitous decision. HHJ George, sitting as a Judge of the Court of Protection and the High Court gave a detailed judgment addressing these profoundly difficult issues. VIEW HERE



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