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High Court upholds young peoples confidentiality

The High Court has ruled that the Guidance relating to the provision of contraceptive, sexual and reproductive services issued by the Department of Health is "fully in line with the law".

This ruling was made concluding a challenge to the guidelines brought by a mother of two teenage daughters. The ruling stated that a child's right to confidentiality takes precendence over a parents' rights under human rights legislation.

Confidentiality is of paramount importance, however young people should be encouraged to involve their parents. Additionally, where there are percieved risks to the health, safety or welfare of a young person such that they outweigh the right to privacy, local child protection procedures should be followed.

Action: Clinicians involved in the provision of sexual health services or advice to young people should continue to respect every persons right to confidentiality. The principles laid down in the Fraser Guidelines regarding competence and local child protections procedures should be followed when appropriate.