Child Safeguarding and Parental Responsibility

GenderGP is fully aware that sometimes there may be conflict within families, regarding proposed treatment strategies for children or young people with newly diagnosed gender variance or gender identity disorder (GID).

This conflict may be particularly apparent when one or other of the adults with parental responsibility is estranged from the family unit.
The proposed treatments may include allowing the child to socially transition at home, play and school and which may involve changing his or her forename to one which is more appropriate to their gender but not to their biological sex.

More interventional medical treatments may include the use of gonadotrophin receptor agonists (hormone blockers) and the use of cross sex hormones. These types of medical intervention require detailed explanation and consent with the child or young person and their accompanying parent. The accompanying parent may be a different one at each visit to the clinic.

GenderGP therefore understands its responsibility in establishing who exactly has parental responsibility for any child or young person attending one of the clinics.

Who has parental responsibility?

According to government guidelines;*

● A mother automatically has parental responsibility for her child from birth.
● A father usually has parental responsibility if he’s either:
○ married to the child’s mother
○ listed on the birth certificate (after a certain date, depending on which part of the UK the child was born in) Births registered in England and Wales
● If the parents of a child are married when the child is born, or if they’ve jointly adopted a child, both have parental responsibility.
● They both keep parental responsibility if they later divorce.

Unmarried parents

An unmarried father can get parental responsibility for his child in 1 of 3 ways:
● jointly registering the birth of the child with the mother (from 1 December 2003)
● getting a parental responsibility agreement with the mother
● getting a parental responsibility order from a court

Same-sex parents

Same-sex partners will both have parental responsibility if they were civil partners at the time of the treatment, eg donor insemination or fertility treatment.

Non-civil partners

For same-sex partners who aren’t civil partners, the 2nd parent can get parental responsibility by either:
● applying for parental responsibility if a parental agreement was made
● becoming a civil partner of the other parent and making a parental responsibility agreement or jointly registering the birth

GenderGP policy for establishing parental responsibility for any adult accompanying a child or young person attending clinic;

● The child (or young person) and accompanying adult(s) will be interviewed together with close observation of family dynamics
● The child will then be interviewed separately and if necessary asked about the accompanying adults
● The adult(s) will then be interviewed separately from the child
● The accompanying adult(s) will be asked for identity documents which they will have been asked to bring with them for the Consultation
● GenderGP will take great care to maintain the confidentiality of the child or young person if approached at a later stage by an adult with parental responsibility for the child and no information will be passed on without the express permission of the child or young person in accordance with GMC guidelines**

*https://www.gov.uk/parental-rights-responsibilities/what-is-parental-responsibility
**http://www.gmc-uk.org/guidance/ethical_guidance/confidentiality.asp

Online Medical Services – by Dr Webberley

GMC no 2620107