Frequently Asked Questions

Will my check-up and my counselling session be confidential?

Counselling and medical check-ups are confidential. There are times however when, to protect you and other persons, confidentiality may be compromised.  This will only happen  where a counsellor has reason to believe that:

  • you are at risk of harm
  • other people are at risk of harm
  • there is a child protection issue
  • he or she is obliged by law or by a court to disclose
  • it is in the public interest to disclose

In these cases, a social worker or An Garda Siochana may be informed depending on the circumstances.  The counsellor will discuss this with you unless doing so would place you or another person at risk.

Can I have a check-up and counselling session if I am under 18?

This will depend on your exact age and on the service’s policy.  No matter what age you are, it is important that you get the support you need.  All services should discuss this with you and help you get the support of a parent/legal guardian or someone else appropriate if possible.

If you are aged 16-18

Medical Check-Up: If you are over 16 you are old enough to consent to a medical check-up and do not need the consent of a parent or a legal guardian.

Counselling: If you are over 16, you may also be able to have counselling if the service provides this without a parent or legal guardian being with you or consenting to you having counselling.  Many services however will only provide counselling to persons under 18 if they have the consent of a parent or legal guardian.  All services should discuss their policy with you around this and help you to get the support you need.

If you are under 16

If you are under 16 then a service will require parental/legal guardian consent for a medical check-up and counselling session unless the circumstances are exceptional which can only be decided on a case by case basis.  The service should always discuss with you how important it is to have support.

Will my check-up and counselling session be confidential if I am under 18?

The doctor or the counsellor should discuss this with you.  Confidentiality is very important but it can never be guaranteed whatever age you are, especially where there may be concerns around your own age, the age of the other party to the sexual activity or general child protection concerns. Confidentiality can also not be guaranteed if, for example, there is a court order or a request under the Freedom of Information for a child’s records by a parent.

What is the law on abortion in Ireland?

Abortion is illegal in Ireland except where there is a real and substantial risk to the life, (as distinct from the health) of the mother.

Women may not be prevented from travelling abroad to get an abortion. It is lawful to provide information in Ireland about abortions abroad, subject to strict conditions. It is not lawful to encourage or advocate an abortion in individual cases.