Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Working with boys and young men – new guidance from Brook

Brook has developed new guidance which if used to inform commissioning and practice can dramatically improve the way we talk about sex and sexual health with boys and young men, and the way we think about addressing the needs of particular groups of young men.

In developing the guidance I had the privilege of working with Trefor Lloyd who has more experience than most of working with boys and young men and one of the highlights of this year has been running a series of workshops with highly skilled professionals across the country and seeing how much more sophisticated our understanding of the need to engage boys and young men is, and the levels of creativity in engaging them effectively.

The guidance addresses topics such as consent, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), sexual violence and teenage pregnancy and is designed to ensure that across the country education and services better meet the needs of boys and young men.

Ensuring we meet the needs of boys and young men is vital to improving the country’s public health. It is particularly important to focus on education which tackles homophobia, sexual consent, infection and asking for support if we are really to make a difference.

Children’s Minister Sarah Teather made the following statement about the guide:

“Teenage pregnancy rates in this country are falling but remain disappointingly high, particularly compared to our European neighbours. Some parts of the country have had great success in reducing teenage pregnancy rates but other areas have not. It is important we understand how and why.

“In the current economic climate it is more important than ever before for professionals to work together. Family and Health Services should be sharing best practice and affordable, innovative solutions for reducing teenage pregnancies and supporting teen parents. It is particularly important for professionals to take account of good practice when developing new services.

“I am glad Brook have chosen to focus on young men in this guide, whose needs are not often given enough priority in teenage pregnancy plans.

“Local authorities are best placed to tailor services to suit the young people in their region; but guides like this provide tangible examples of successful practice.

“I would like to thank Brook for their contribution to this important area.”

You can read the full press release here or find out more about the guidance here.

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