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Sexual Health

Volume 451: debated on Wednesday 1 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if her Department will undertake research into the effect of parental notification laws on the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases among teenagers; and if she will make a statement. (95112)

The Department has no plans to commission research in this area. The issue of parental notification if a teenager aged under 16 seeks advice and treatment for a sexually transmitted infection, contraception or abortion was recently considered by the High Court. The judgment in this case concluded that a health professional is able to provide contraception, sexual and reproductive health advice and treatment, without parental knowledge or consent, to a young person aged under 16, provided that:

she/he understands the advice provided and its implications; and

her/his physical or mental health would otherwise be likely to suffer and so provision of advice or treatment is in their best interest.

Health professionals seeing children aged under 16 should also follow the guidance set out in the Department's publication “Best Practice Guidance for Doctors and Other Health Professionals on the Provision of Advice and Treatment to Young People aged under 16 on Contraception, Sexual and Reproductive Health” and the revised cross-Government guidance “Working Together to Safeguard Children”.