Care scandal: MPs demand investigation into autistic woman’s care
Labour last night demanded an “urgent investigation” after The Times revealed that a court allowed a woman with severe learning disabilities to have sex with numerous men she barely knew.
The autistic 23-year-old was serially exploited after the Court of Protection allowed men to visit her from 10am to 4pm each day. Her carers were said to have believed that high-risk sexual encounters with strangers might help her to “learn from her mistakes”.
Charities and politicians said that they were shocked by the revelations. Barbara Keeley, the shadow minister for mental health and social care, described it as “a truly appalling case”.
Times investigation | analysis
Care scandal: Courts must strike balance betweek autonomy and protection
Decisions made in the Court of Protection often involve a delicate and difficult balance between the rights of individuals to live their lives without interference by the state, and the need to protect people from harm.
In the realm of sexual relationships, the courts use a simple test to decide whether someone is able to consent: does the person understand what sex is and what its consequences may be, including pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections?
Care scandal: Exploitation of my vulnerable niece made me feel sick, says autistic woman’s aunt
Her aunt, with whom the woman, 23, lived until she was taken into care as a teenager, said she felt “betrayed and so, so angry” that a court had permitted the exposure of her vulnerable niece to high-risk sexual encounters.
“I’m not a clever woman, but I know right from wrong,” she said. “They had a duty to protect her.”
Previously: Andrew Norfolk – Times investigation
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