Friday, 10 October 2008

Teenage pregnancy myths

Barely a week goes by without a media story about teenage pregnancy so we recently commissioned an Ipsos MORI poll to find out the public’s perception of the teenage pregnancy rate amongst under-16s in England.

Shockingly we found that 95% of people over-estimated the rate and the same amount were unaware of the significant drop in this figure over the last ten years. Even more concerning was that young people themselves thought that the rate was particularly high. 23% of 15-24 year olds thought that the rate of under 16s getting pregnant each year was over 40% - it's actually less than 1%.

With so many stories in the media it’s not surprising that people believe teenage pregnancy to be much more common than it actually is. This is particularly confusing for young people who may well think that teenage pregnancy is normal. It also fuels the myth that teenage pregnancy is escalating and nothing can be done.

Significant reductions in teenage pregnancy in many areas around the country show that change is possible and we now know what works to help young people prevent early pregnancy – good quality sex and relationships education together with access to free and confidential sexual health services.

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