We are asking for parent’s difficult to answer questions about sex!

Cornwall Council via its Public Health Team is asking parents and carers to send in those difficult questions they worry their children will ask about relationships, sex and growing up.

The Sexual Health and Teenage Pregnancy Team have made an online resource for parents that will help them to answer the questions you may struggle with answering. Rather than saying “go and ask your mum”, or “that’s one for your dad to answer”, or even “Google it”, the team want to help you talk about relationships, sex and growing up in an age appropriate way.

Evidence shows that children and young people who have on-going and open conversations at home with their parents about relationships and sexual health initiate sex at an older age, have less sex during their teenage years and use condoms more consistently than their peers. It is very hard to control the flow of information into our children’s lives…. We need to make sure they are getting the right information from us.

Young people tell us time and again, they want to talk to reliable adults about relationship, sexual health and growing up. This is why we want to support parents to be positive and confident sources of relationships and sex education for their children.

A short video has been produced for social media – showing some examples of difficult questions, and encouraging parents to submit their own using an anonymous form. The more questions the team receive the better the resource they will be able to create.

Film below (please have the sound on):

Difficult questions from Cornwall Council on Vimeo.

 

For me, I am fully supportive issues like this are being highlighted. It is really important that we speak honestly to our children about relationships and sexual health in an age appropriate way whenever they ask. Fobbing them off or dodging the questions will only create more difficult issues to deal with as they get older. I know I have had those difficult questions asked, and have after the initial shock, have sat down with my son and talked about it.

Furthermore, we have reduced our teenage pregnancy rate in Cornwall by more than half since the national reduction strategy began, and we want to ensure that we continue a downward trend.

As parents we can often be caught off guard by our children’s inquisitive nature.  But, if we get this right from a young age, by encouraging our children to come to us as a reliable source of information we are establishing great building blocks for their future. If parents do not answer their children’s questions they may turn to a far less reliable source.

Talking about sex does not encourage young people to have it either! Not talking about sex means young people have to find things out from sometimes far less desirable sources. It is very hard to control the flow of information into our children’s lives…. We need to make sure they are getting the right information from us.

Young people tell us time and again, they want to talk to reliable adults about relationship, sexual health and growing up

Parents can submit the difficult to answer questions they’ve been asked, or are worried they might be asked, online at www.cornwall.gov.uk/teenagepregnancy

Studies have found:

  • Young people who talk to their parents were more likely to wait longer before having sex.
  • Young people who had recently had a ‘good talk’ with a parent about sexual health were twice more likely to use condoms than those who hadn’t.
  • People who have conversations with parents about sexual health are more likely to use contraception every time they have sex.
  • People who said school and parents were their two main sources of information about sex are less likely to have unsafe sex and less likely to be diagnosed with an STI.

Whilst most parents and carers want to be a good source of relationship and sex education, many admit that they are not talking to their children. This can be for many reasons such as embarrassment or simply not knowing what to say. Likewise young people say they want to have these very important conversations with their parents and carers but often don’t know how to initiate them and so look for information from less reliable sources such as the internet or friends.

We want to support parents so they not only have the knowledge and confidence to answer those difficult questions but to raise the subjects in the first place. Supporting parents to be positive sources of relationship and sexual health is vital to supporting children and young people to develop into healthy, happy individuals.

If Young People are able to have difficult conversations at home with their parents, it enables them to build the skills they need to have good communication with their partners about relationship and sexual health in later life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cornwall’s under 18 conception rate falls again to be its lowest ever.

Cornwall and Isles of Scilly’s under 18 conception rate has continued to fall and, according to data released this week by the Office for National Statistics, is the lowest it has ever been.

The data shows we have achieved a year on year decline in under 18 and under 16 conceptions with an overall reduction in teenage conceptions rates of 53% since the national reduction strategy began.

Cornwall also compares well to other authorities across the South West with a conception rate of 18.9 per 1000 women aged 15-17.

In a tough financial climate, Cornwall Council remains committed to continuing to reduce the rate of under-18 conceptions and improving outcomes for young parents and their children. Teenage pregnancy is often associated with negative health outcomes for the mother and child and increased likelihood of them both living in long-term poverty. Most teenage conceptions are unintended; around half result in a termination, an avoidable burden for the young women affected.

The figures are brilliant news and a testament to the hard work of all our services and partners across Cornwall and Isles of Scilly. It demonstrates that sustained effort from committed individuals at every level really makes a difference.

Evidence shows that the two factors that have the biggest impact on rates are access to young people friendly sexual health services and both formal and informal relationship and sex education, ensuring young people have the skills, knowledge and confidence to make positive choices about their sexual health now and in the future.

This is really fantastic news and shows how organisations working together for a common goal does produce results and shows what can be achieved. It is great to see that we are continuing to reduce the levels of conceptions, and have not become complacent. It is imperative to all people no matter what age or gender to have a positive understanding of sexual health, their bodies and the choices they can make. That is why supporting and enabling good quality, comprehensive relationships and sex education at home and in our schools is a key priority for Cornwall.”

It is vital we give our children the skills they need for a healthy future and parents, carers and families are key in supporting early discussion and education on relationships and sexual health.

In Cornwall young people can access information and support from a wide range of services including the C-Card condom distribution scheme, pharmacies, their GP, Contraceptive and Sexual Health clinics such as Brook or the Sexual Health Hub in Truro and in locations across Cornwall. You can find out about all of these services by visiting the Cornwall SHAC website www.cornwallshac.org.uk/

Schools in Cornwall have access to a wide range of support to help them deliver comprehensive relationships and sex education. This includes lessons provided by Brook who will be extending their offer to include year 8 support as well as years 9 – 11 from September 2016.

Additional support is provided by Cornwall Healthy Schools and the Health Promotion Service who were recently shortlisted for a national award for the further education RSE resources; Kernow King Sex Tape.

Cornwall Council offers help to parents and carers who want to become more confident and knowledgeable with sources of information about relationships, growing up and sexual health for the children they care for.

Information on the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy and Action plan, services and resources: http://www.cornwall.gov.uk/teenagepregnancy

Cornwall’s under 18 conception rate falls to a record low

Cornwall’s under 18 conception rate has continued to fall and, according to data released today by the Office for National Statistics, is now, for the first time, less than half the baseline set in 1998 when the National Teenage Pregnancy Strategy began.

The data released today shows Cornwall’s annual conception rate to be 18.2 conceptions per 1000 women aged 5-17, a whopping 54.3% decrease from the 1998 baseline of 39.8 per 1000. This means Cornwall has not only exceeded the national target of a 50% reduction in pregnancy rates, but has also outperformed the average reduction achieved across England and Wales of 40%.

The data released also brings Cornwall’s under 18 conception rate below 20 conceptions per 1000 for the first time and see’s Cornwall performing better than the South West average. The full data can be found HERE

Cornwall Council remains committed to reducing the rate of under-18 conceptions and improving outcomes for young parents and their children through the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy and Action plan. Teenage pregnancy is often associated with negative health outcomes for the mother and child and increased likelihood of them both living in long-term poverty. In addition to this, many teenage conceptions are unintended. Around half result in a termination, an avoidable burden for the young women affected.

Evidence shows that the two factors that have the biggest impact on rates are access to young people friendly sexual health services and both formal and informal relationship and sex education, ensuring young people have the skills, knowledge and confidence to make positive choices about their sexual health now and in the future.

In Cornwall young people can access information and support from a wide range of services including the C-Card condom distribution scheme, pharmacies, their GP, Contraceptive and Sexual Health clinics such as Brook or the Sexual Health Hub in Truro. You can find out about all of these services by visiting the Cornwall SHAC website.”

We want to do more to ensure we are effectively sharing key messages around relationships and sexual health with the people of Cornwall. Because of this Cornwall Council are currently working with partners throughout sexual health to launch a new initiative entitled TALK Relationships and Sexual Health (RSH).

The aim of the initiative is to encourage people across Cornwall to TALK about relationships and Sexual Health and access the support and services they need to do this confidently.

You may want to know more about improving your own sexual health, or want support in talking to your own children and young people about relationships, growing up and sexual health, either way TALK relationships is here to help.

To make sure we communicate with you in the best possible way, we need your help. TALK RSH has two surveys, one for young people, one for parents and carers. Both surveys are asking for your views around the best way to offer support and communicate with you. The initiative and surveys will be formally launched in the coming weeks and will be available at www.cornwall.gov.uk/TALKRSH.

This is really fantastic news and shows how organisation working together for a common goal does produce results and shows what can be achieved. You cannot achieve a 50% conception rate reduction without this cooperation and I would like to thank all those individuals and organisations who have made this possible.  It is imperative to all people no matter what age or gender to have a positive understanding of sexual health, their bodies and the choices they can make. That is why supporting and enabling good quality, comprehensive relationships and sex education at home and in our schools is a key priority for Cornwall.

A huge thanks goes to all who have worked together to make this happen. You should be very proud.

 

 

 

 

 

Cornwall’s Teenage Conception Rates Drop – Again

Today the ONS released the annual conception data for 2013, this data includes under 18 and under 16 conception data. It is good news for Cornwall. I know this may seem ‘old’ data but this is the latest data available.

For Cornwall, the conception rate for under 18’s was 21.3 per 1000 women, down from 26.1 per 1000 women in 2012. The great news is this was a decrease of 17.8% in the number of conceptions from 242 to 199 in a twelve month period and a 41.6% decrease since the baseline was set in 1998. Furthermore, the conception rate for under 16’s was 3.9 per 1000 women, a decrease of 15% in the last 12 months from 4.6 in 2012. This means the  data for 2013 has seen the largest percentage decrease in one year for Cornwall since 1998. It is important to continue this momentum or we could see ourselves having increase of teenage conception rates.

Teenage Conception Rates 1998 till 2012

Teenage Conception Rates 1998 till 2012

The reason Cornwall has been successful in reducing the number of teenage pregnancies is down to contraception and condoms though the improved access and support to getting condoms though the C-Card Scheme. Education which provides accurate, high-quality and timely information that helps people to make informed decisions about relationships, sex and sexual health. Early intervention supporting is another key factor as is supporting young people to reducing teenage conceptions. There are many exciting pieces of work being delivered and planned in reducing teenage pregnancy and supporting young parents, and as our environment changes.

Cornwall’s rate is edging closer to the average rate for the Southwest region 21.2/1000 for 2013 and 24.8/1000 for 2012 and has increased the gap in a positive way between Cornwall and the National Average. The National Average currently stands a 24.5/1000 for 2013 and 27.9/1000 for 2012. Cornwall has also exceeded both in terms of achieved percentage change since the 1998 baseline.

It is important to note that data can fluctuate but we can feel positive about this downward trend, so we must still do all we can to reduce the rates. The full data can be accessed here ONS Conception Statistics, England and Wales – 2013. http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/vsob1/conception-statistics–england-and-wales/index.html