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Sexual Rights of the Psychiatric Patients, Consenting Capacity and Contradiction with Local and National Policies and the Law of Sri Lanka: A Case Report

Authors:

R. Sathasivam ,

University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Gangodawila, Nugegoda, LK
About R.
Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medical Sciences
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M. Vidanapathirana

University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Gangodawila, Nugegoda, LK
About M.
Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medical Sciences
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Abstract

Legally, consensual sexual relationships between adults are a right in our society. However, sexual activity is often prohibited by-laws for psychiatric patients in Sri Lanka. Unless medically contraindicated, all people, whether competent or incompetent or, single or married, should have the right to engage in consensual sexual activities. A 32-year-old female who was on regular treatment and follow-up in the clinic for fifteen years for epilepsy and psychosis was admitted to a tertiary care hospital with a sudden loss of consciousness following severe vomiting. Her medical findings confirmed a 23 weeks intrauterine live foetus. She lived in a separate home for the last three years and had consensual sexual intercourse with her sound-mind long-term partner for one year. Medico-legal investigations excluded the physical forces or donations as contributory factors to request consent for sex, and the circumstantial evidence confirmed that the patient had consented sex. However, the psychiatrist’s opinion was that she had severe mental retardation and had no capacity to give consent for sex. According to the law, after the clinical forensic examination, the assailant was arrested and remanded. The sexual rights of the psychiatric patients in Sri Lanka are discriminatory and there is the legal vulnerability of partners who engaged in sex with psychiatric patients. Therefore, local and national policies should be created to provide sexual and reproductive health, education, counselling, and family planning among psychiatric patients. Similar to other countries, the laws of Sri Lanka should be amended with the help of medical professionals and other stakeholders.
How to Cite: Sathasivam, R. and Vidanapathirana, M., 2021. Sexual Rights of the Psychiatric Patients, Consenting Capacity and Contradiction with Local and National Policies and the Law of Sri Lanka: A Case Report. Medico-Legal Journal of Sri Lanka, 9(1), pp.24–27. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/mljsl.v9i1.7431
Published on 30 Jun 2021.
Peer Reviewed

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