To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the temporary measure allowing medical abortions to happen outside a clinical environment, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that potential abuse, coercion and sex-trafficking of under 18s who may request medical abortions at home under that measure is detected.
Safeguarding is an essential component of abortion services. All providers must comply with legal requirements and have regard to any statutory guidance relating to children, young people and vulnerable adults. Providers must ensure that all staff are trained in recognising the signs of potential abuse and know how to respond. Providers must have written guidance that staff are aware of and can easily refer to as well as easy access to a named lead in the organisation for guidance and advice.
It is also a requirement that clinicians caring for women requesting abortion should be able to identify those who require more support than can be provided in the routine abortion service setting, for example young women, those with a pre-existing mental health condition, those who are subject to sexual violence or poor social support, or where there is evidence of coercion. These requirements apply to all consultations whether they take place via video link, telephone call or face to face.