Wednesday, 23 September 2009
Their knowledge and experience will be a great assest for Brook and I look forward to working with them to take our work forwards and reach many more young people.
Please click here to see the full news release on our website.
Tuesday, 22 September 2009
As well as being able to download for free, it can be purchased on DVD for training purposes
The guidance to the Sexual Offences Act 2003 is very clear. The Act is not there to criminalise consensual sexual activity amongst young people, although I accept from many people who know far more about legislation than I do, that this Act is not the best conceptualised and leaves too much room for inequitable legislation. This is borne out in some of the calls and letters that I receive from anxious parents whose child has been the subject of unhelpful criminal investigation into consensual sexual activity.
I look forward to the debate tomorrow, but meanwhile I am with young people and Nick, my trainer at the gym who has in recent months become an active debater on teenage pregnancy, sexual assault, sex and the media, who when I asked him this morning what he thought about lowering the age of consent, thought it was probably best 'left as it is'. Even though he can see there is the potential pressure that people feel when they get to 16 to have sex if they have not done so already.
And herein lies at least some of the problem for me, the feeling amongst the young that everyone else is doing it more often, younger and in more daring ways. But to be honest this is not simply the domain of young people. As adults we too, are often consumed with the view that others are 'having it more and better'. And this is about our culture, not the law (although I know of course the law and culture are closely interlinked).
Research shows the practical reality of the age of consent for young people. In all you need is love? sexual morality through the eyes of young people published by National Children's Bureau, Sharpe and Thomson show that whilst the age of consent is not central in young people's decision making about whether and when to have sex - trust and love playing a much greater role - the age of consent does send a message to young people about when as a society we think is a reasonable age to have sex. I have also talked with many many young women and the professionals that work with them about the age of consent over the last decade. The resounding consensus from them is leave it as it is - it is a good negotiating tool that we can use to refuse to have sex should we want to use it.
So on that basis for now, as long as we have adequate safeguards which prevent young people under 16 who are engaged in consensual sexual activity from being criminalised, and those young people who have sex under 16 have access to contraceptive and sexual health services and feel confident using them, my view is lets keep it at 16. I look forward to the Radio 4 programme Iconoclasts tomorrow and listening to see whether there is anything that may make me consider changing my view.
In the meantime foot on the accelerator to create that positive open culture about sex and sexuality.
Friday, 18 September 2009
So I urge you to start influencing and sign up to the website now - get your voice heard!
Wednesday, 9 September 2009
Monday, 7 September 2009
We were incredibly impressed with lots of things including the way Brook using PQASSO our quality assurance system to really improve the way they work on an ongoing basis. We were also excited that all year 10 pupils (age 14/15) on
The impact of this was evident at Jersey Live Music Festival which we spent some time at afterwards. Two of the Ask Brook team were doing a brilliant job at the stand giving out information about sexual health and safer sex, providing condoms and teaching people how to use them, and telling people about the Brook service in
Imagine how amazing it would be and how much we could improve the confidence of young people in accessing services if all year 10 pupils in every school got a trip to their nearest contraceptive and sexual health service, and when they got there everyone was respectful to them.
Friday, 4 September 2009
Tuesday, 1 September 2009
Sexual bullying and sexual violence has become an increasing policy and practice concern. And the NSPCC today launched an interesting report about the experience of teenage girls in relationships that adds to the evidence as to why this must be a concern. The research, a study of almost 1400 13 - 17 year olds shows that a third of teenage girls suffer unwanted sexual acts in a relationship and a quarter physical violence.
The survey of 13 to 17-year-olds found that nearly nine out of ten girls had been in an intimate relationship. Of these, one in six said they had been pressured into sexual intercourse and 1 in 16 said they had been raped. Others had been pressured or forced to kiss or sexually touch. In addition quarter of girls had suffered physical violence such as being slapped, punched, or beaten by their boyfriends.
Nearly nine out of ten boys also said they had been in a relationship. A smaller number reported pressure or violence from girls. (Only one in seventeen boys in a relationship reported being pressured or forced into sexual activity and almost one in five suffered physical violence in a relationship).
Girls were much more likely to find this behaviour harmful - more than three in every four compared to one in ten boys. Girls also reported that they suffered more repeatedly in relationships and at a younger age.
Sian, one of the girls interviewed for the research, said: "I only went out with him for a week. And then because I didn't want to have sex he just started picking on me and hitting me."
Having an older boyfriend was found to put girls at a higher risk, with three-quarters of them saying they had been victims. Girls from a family where an adult had been violent towards them, one of their parents, or siblings, were also at greater risk.
For boys, having a violent group of friends made it more likely that they would be a victim, or be violent themselves, in a relationship.
Bobby, one of the boys interviewed for the report, said: "I think there's probably more pressure on boys, but if a girl goes out with a lot of people she's called a 'slut' or a 'slag' or something, but if it's a boy he's just one of the lads if he
I have yet to read the full report, but it is clear from what i have read so far that sexual violence is a really important issue and that gender plays a really significant part in the way young people understand and navigate their sexual relationships.
That is why Brook's annual conference on March 4th 2010 is focusing on gender. To find out more about the conference BoyGirlManWoman - putting gender at the heart of sexual health and teenage pregnancy work email firstname.lastname@example.org