Care workers who help vulnerable people to visit sex workers will not be breaking the law, a senior judge has said.
In a landmark ruling, a judge in the Court of Protection – a specialist court which considers issues relating to people who lack the capacity to make certain decisions – said carers who facilitate adults with learning disabilities visiting sex workers will not be committing a criminal offence.
Under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, a care worker who ‘intentionally causes or incites’ someone in their care with a ‘mental disorder’ to engage in sexual activity can be jailed for a maximum of 10 years.
However, in a ruling published on Thursday, Mr Justice Hayden said the Act is ‘structured to protect vulnerable adults from others, not from themselves’.
He said that ‘those with mental health disorders have, in the past, effectively been prevented, by the law, from engaging in sexual relations’.
But, Mr Justice Hayden said, it is ‘no longer the objective of the law to prevent people with mental disorders from having sexual relationships’.
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