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

ABSTRACT

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 othersDECLARATION OF INTERESTNone.