Legal Issues Concerning Minors For STD Workers ISDH STD Prevention Program 2014
Objectives Understand what Indiana law says about minors for STD/HIV testing Understand what Indiana law says about consent for sexual activity Understand who is obligated to report child abuse and neglect
Legal citations IC 16-36-1-3(d) [Read as: Indiana Code Chapter 16, section 36, subsection 1-3(d)] relates to minor consent IC 31-33-5-1 – Relates to child abuse reporting
What the law says about minors Per Indiana law, a minor of any age may give their own consent for medical care or treatment if they “have, suspect that they have, or have been exposed to a venereal disease” This means no parental consent or notification is required All confidentiality provisions are in place for the child the same as if they were an adult (written release, etc.)
Misconceptions Many believe this consent is limited by a lower age, for example 13 or 14, but Indiana law doesn’t put a “floor” on the age Health care providers may establish a lower age by their own policy Some may think that if the child tests positive, the parent must be notified but this is against the law unless the child has given written consent to release
Child abuse or neglect DIS may be more in a position to learn of child sexual abuse than other types of health care workers All of you are “mandated reporters” which means you must report suspected child abuse or neglect to authorities This may arise for us when asking a teen about sex partners In Indiana, a person under age 14 is not legally able to consent to sexual activity [IC 35-42-4- 9]
More on consent for sexual activity Youth aged 14 and 15 are only legally able to consent to sexual activity if: –They are in a “dating relationship” –They are with someone not more than four years older than them (and not age 18) So, someone age 14 or 15 could date someone up to age 17 but not an 18-year old Only those aged 16 or 17 are legally able to consent to sexual activity with a person aged 18 or older
Making a report You will need to give your name and contact information and state your agency’s name You will need to give the name of the child and locating information as well as parent information if known You do not have to (and should not) give any information pertaining to the confidential health matter such as diagnosis or exposure “I learned in the course of my work that child X was engaging in sexual activity with a person aged X”
Common questions If my district receives a communicable disease report (or lab) on someone under age 14, am I supposed to report this to Child Protective Services? I need to establish a trusting relationship with my patients in order to learn partner information – how am I to do this if I then need to “turn them in”? How do I assure them everything we talk about is confidential if I have to make a report?
Common questions (cont.) Am I supposed to tell my local supervisor before I make a report of child abuse? What if he/she doesn’t want me to? Do I have to tell my patient that I’m making the report? Will my name be told to the patient or his/her parents as the one who made the report?
Resources Indiana Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline 1-800-800-5556 http://www.in.gov/dcs/2971.htm