Praise for social workers for supporting vulnerable woman to enjoy sexual relationship

A judge has praised social services staff trying to help a woman with learning difficulties enjoy a sexual relationship with her boyfriend.

Lawyers representing Bolton Council (pictured) told Mrs Justice Lieven how staff were trying to help the woman stay safe and understand appropriate behaviour.

They told the judge that the woman, who is in her 30s, was vulnerable but was in a relationship with a man and wanted to have sex with him.

Mrs Justice Lieven said council staff seemed to be doing a “really good job”.

She is analysing the woman’s case in the Court of Protection, where issues relating to people who lack the mental capacity to make decisions are considered, and praised staff at the latest review hearing in London.

The judge heard that the woman did not have the mental capacity to make decisions about who she should have contact with generally.

But she was told there was no suggestion that the woman was interested in having sex with anyone other than her boyfriend.

Mrs Justice Lieven said the woman could not be identified in media reports.

She is the latest in a series of Court of Protection judges asked to consider issues relating to people with learning disabilities and sex in recent months.

  • Mrs Justice Roberts is overseeing a case centred on a man in his 30s whose ability to “socialise freely” has been restricted to stop him being “sexually inappropriate” with women. The man is subject to a “comprehensive” council care plan which limits his access to the “local community” and to social media and the internet.But he his “anxious” to find a sexual partner and says the restrictions on his ability to socialise are unfair. She has made decisions relating to the man’s mental capacity to consent to sex and is due to make more decisions in the near future.
  • Mr Justice Keehan has concluded that social services bosses should not facilitate access to prostitutes for a man with learning difficulties who has a “high sex drive”. The man had become fascinated with “female sex workers” and Lincolnshire County Council bosses had asked for a ruling on what was in his “best interests” with regard to “contact with sex workers”.
  • Mr Justice Hayden decided against ruling that a woman with learning difficulties was no longer able to consent to making love with her husband of more than 25 years. He was told that a specialist had concluded that the woman’s mental health had reached the stage where she was no longer capable of understanding the “sexual act”.

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