Disability: the CCNE is opposed to sexual assistance

Publié le : 20 March 2013

 After being consulted in 2011 by Roselyne Bachelot, then Minister for Solidarity and Social Cohesion in the government led by François Fillon, the National Consultative Committee on Ethics (CCNE) has issued its opinion on sexual assistance for disabled people, which some associations would like to see authorised in France. In this opinion, made public on 11 March, the CCNE stated that it was "unfavourable to the recognition of the profession of sexual assistant for disabled people," because, it points out, "it is not possible to make sexual assistance into a professional occupation like the others owing to the principle of the non-commercial use of the human body."       

The CCNE notes, firstly, that "the beneficiaries are vulnerable persons likely to make an emotional transfer to the sexual assistant," and, secondly, "nothing can guarantee that the assistants will not themselves be made vulnerable ‘by too much personal involvement in this service’." Anne-Marie Dickele, a psychologist and spokesperson of the CCNE, says that "the risk of abuses is very great, for the assistants as well as for the beneficiaries."
Moreover, the committee "considers that sexual assistance to disabled people is not one of the responsibilities of the State, but comes under private initiative." It points out: "it seems difficult to admit that is constitutes a right-debt provided as an obligation by society, rather than one of the other individual initiatives." In France, "serving as an intermediary between a person who prostitutes him/herself and another person using his/her services is an act of procuring." The CCNE concludes: "if something is prohibited for everybody for ethical reasons, it seems difficult to envisage that it could be authorised in the framework of individual initiatives and solely for the profit of certain people."
Reacting to this stand, Maudy Piot, President of association Femmes pour le dire, femmes pour agir (FDFA, Women who speak, women who act), opposed to sexual assistance, says she is "delighted" with this stand of the CCNE because sexual assistance "amounts to prostitution because it involves selling one’s body.
Abroad, sexual assistance has been authorised for the first time in the United States. In Europe, this practice exists in the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and Denmark. 

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