Liverpool Law Review

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 137-154

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Sex, Dementia, Capacity and Care Homes

  • Peter BartlettAffiliated withNottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust Professor of Mental Health Law, Institute of Mental Health and School of Law, University of Nottingham Email author 


This paper addresses the appropriate legal and policy approach to sexual conduct involving people with dementia in care homes, where the mental capacity of one or both partners is compromised. Such conduct is prohibited by sections 34–42 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, but this article asks whether this blanket prohibition is necessarily the appropriate response. The article considers a variety of alternative responses, eventually arguing that clearer guidance regarding prosecution should be issued.


Sexual expression and human rights Sexuality Dementia Care homes Senior Citizens’ homes Capacity and sexual conduct