Friday, 22 October 2010

Battle of Ideas - policy and teenage mums

Brook is taking part in Battle of Ideas on Saturday 30 October, an annual festival of a series of open discussions and debates about the challenges facing society.

I am taking part in a debate called Too much, too young: why is policy obsessed with teenage mums? If there is a policy obsession, I hope that this continues through the deep public spending cuts. Whilst many young people are making active choices that are right for them, far too many young people can’t access contraception easily and many come to Brook unsure if they had sex or consented to it, without the confidence to take control of their sexual lives.

Throughout October and November The Independent is publishing a number of blogs from speakers on the issues – to read my article please click here.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Young people and STIs - hear our young volunteers, JLS and Brook staff

Below is the link to a Guardian podcast on sexually transmitted infections. JLS, supporters of Brook's 'Big issues don't have to be a big deal campaign', the young volunteers who produced the 'Big Issues campaign', and Brook's Jules Hillier and Gillian Vanhegan are interviewed for the podcast

Thursday, 7 October 2010

A long couple of weeks at party conference

Anyone who remembers freshers week, or their first holiday with friends, and the extreme fatigue one has at the end of the week will empathise with how I felt climbing into my bed when I got home from the Conservative Party conference earlier this week knowing that the party conference season was over for another year.

The good news is there were reassuring noises being made at the Tories about the importance of sex and relationships education for children and young people, and about the inclusion of sexual health as part of the public health service (white paper to be published this year). Of course we must now all be working hard to ensure the translation of these reassuring noises into policy and practical delivery - and particularly in the context of the Public Health White Paper we must not lose sight of the fact that sexual health is about more than sexually transmitted infections - contraception and abortion services, underpinned by a sex positive approach are an integral part of a successful public health approach.

Sexualisation of young people, particularly via new media and phone technologies was a heated area of debate and discussion in the bar - clearly a vital area that we must be on top of. Of course young people need to know and understand the legal context and the social and personal impact of sharing their own pictures willingly (now), or distributing pictures/stories of others. When thinking about the challenges technological developments present we must keep this in context and our wits firmly around us. Using text, the web and other new media is for some a consenting act and for others a new mode of an age old problem - sexual harassment and sexual bullying.

If you are interested in thinking more about the issues, here are links to a documentary and an article in the Times Educational Supplement on the issue of sex, pornography and new media. I was interviewed for both of these.

- Weblink to Radio 4 documentary ‘Sex, porn and teenagers’:

- Times Education Supplement, 1 October 2010:

Monday, 4 October 2010

Sexual health must be a key part of the Public Health White Paper

Brook, together with leading charities and specialist professional associations in the field of sexual health, are calling on the Government to make sexual and reproductive health a central plank of the forthcoming Public Health White Paper in England.

Sexual and reproductive health and HIV are an important part of the nation’s public health. There will be real benefits from including these within the scope of national and local work to improve public health.

Please click here to see the joint paper which outlines why sexual and reproductive health must be prioritised.

To find out more about sexual health in your local area visit SHout Loud is a website for individuals and communities to have a say about sexual health and to receive information updates as they become available.