The ‘Care and Protection of Children Act’ in the Northern Territory in its short life has undergone several amendments. The ramifications of the legislation were far reaching and impacted on the way healthprofessionals, particularly doctor could interact with younger patients. As I wrote at the time:
This meant that doctors had to compulsorily report any child under the age of 16 who they suspected of having sexual intercourse. This would have ruined any patient confidentiality with these kids, probably more with the girls dealing with teenage pregnancy.
Even sillier, it was interpreted that the sale of condoms to anyone under sixteen years also had to be reported to the authorities.
I guess it’s no surprise, but the legislation has been amended yet again. The correspondence explaining the changes states:
The amendments followed extensive consultation with a range of professional groups, including lawyers and medical practitioners, who were concerned that the then-law may have the unintended consequence of discouraging sexually active young people from seeking confidential advice and care on medical, psychological and other issues relating to sexual health matters.
You can read that as health professionals kicked up a stink and pollies were forced to review it yet again.
The correspondence explaining the changes is below. It seems the major change has to do with the type of sexual activity and the age of the child.
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