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

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