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Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34236
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
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Hypothetically, a 19 year old wants to kill themselves via

Customer Question

Hypothetically, a 19 year old wants to kill themselves via starvation and they have not yet told their parents. They live with their parents and so it would be inevitable that their parents would recognise the extreme weight loss. The 19 year old tells their parents of what they are planning to do. Are the parents legally obligated to inform the hospital or in any way prevent their child from doing this? Would they be punished if they did not? Would the circumstances change if it became evident to the parents that the 19 year old was on the verge of dying? Furthermore, should the 19 year old end up in hospital, would she be able to refuse food/force feeding? Additional Info: The 19 year old has depression and is on anti-depressants, does this affect the result?

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
is it likely that the parents would allow the young adult to do this if that was her wish?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Has the young person created a "living will"?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

would this make a difference? Hypothetically yes, they've created a living will

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
The guidelines on Prosecutions of assisted Suicide are here
http://www.cps.gov.uk/publications/prosecution/assisted_suicide_policy.html
In general terms it is likely that there would be NO prosecution in such a case although careful consideration woudl have to be given to the issue of the 19 year olds mental capacity.
As an adult the 19 year old can refuse food unless actions is taken to have a ruling that the young person lacks capacity to make such a decision.
However there would have to be an Advance Directive in place if they wished to avoid forced feeding once they became unconscious
Please ask if you need further details
Clare