Woman’s ‘sexual releases’ to cost taxpayers $10k a year
A WOMAN with multiple sclerosis will be able to have a monthly taxpayer-funded "sexual release" after a landmark tribunal decision.
The woman in her 40s, who cannot masturbate and does not "expect ever to have a partner", can now bill the National Disability Insurance Scheme for the services of a sex therapist.
Her application to the NDIS for the use of a sexual therapist was previously rejected.
On Monday the Administrative Appeals Tribunal overturned the decision, finding it was a "reasonable and necessary" request.
"She has sexual needs. She identifies as a lesbian," the judgment reads.
"She attributes her inability to locate a partner to her disability, and has explained why that is so, in evidence which I accept to which the confidential reasons refer."
The decision states the use of a sex therapist was "reasonable and necessary" because it was good for her "mental wellbeing, her emotional wellbeing and her physical wellbeing".
"As I have found, the support will help her realise her potential for social and emotional development, and to participate in social life," the judgment reads.
This once-a-month service will cost the taxpayer $10,800 a year, according to the judgment.
"If she did have a partner, she could not stimulate that person, and it seems very unlikely that a partner would undertake the activities which the trained therapist would perform to enable the applicant to achieve such form of release as she is capable of achieving," the judgment said.
The NDIS claimed an occupational therapist and "specific equipment" could do the job.
However the tribunal found the equipment wasn't a viable alternative and an occupational therapist could not replace a sexual therapist.
"She happens to be in such circumstances, referred to in the confidential reasons, that the only help she can usefully have to reach sexual release, to the extent to which she can, is by means of the qualified and trained sexual therapist whose services she seeks," the judgment said.
The tribunal went on to rule out the services of a sex worker.
"The applicant does not seek the services of a sex worker," the judgment said.
"Such services would not be of help to her."
"She happens to be in such circumstances, referred to in the confidential reasons, that the only help she can usefully have to reach sexual release, to the extent to which she can, is by means of the qualified and trained sexual therapist whose services she seeks."
National Disability Insurance Scheme Minister Stuart Robert said the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) would appeal the tribunal's decision.
"The current position continues to be that the NDIS does not cover sexual services, sexual therapy or sex workers in a participant's NDIS plan" Mr Robert said.
"These services are not in line with community expectations of what are reasonable and necessary supports."