Opinion Former Article

Marie Stopes International: Manchester teens getting the SexFactor

Marie Stopes International is hosting SexFactor for 200, 15 year olds from local Manchester schools to give them all the facts about how to avoid unplanned pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and sexual assault.

SexFactor will be a fun, interactive day with workshops on sex and relationships being held at the Lancashire County Cricket club today.

Greater Manchester currently has one of the highest rates of under-18 pregnancy in England, with 50.2 out of 1000 under-18 year old women becoming pregnant compared to 40.5 in 1000 across England. Britain as a whole has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in Western Europe.

Most Western European countries have adopted compulsory sex and relationships education to reduce their teenage pregnancy rates. However, in Britain, sex and relationships education is down to the discretion of each school, resulting in many young people not receiving the information they need to keep themselves safe and practice safe sex.

Seven organisations are involved in SexFactor, including the Police and Barnardo's who will be talking to students about how to keep themselves safe from sexual abuse, bullying and abusive relationships. These are crucial safety skills.

Louise Brennan, Clinical Lead at Marie Stopes International's Manchester clinic said:

"The research is very clear; where sex and relationships education is taught in conjunction with contraceptive services, young people are more likely to delay their first sexual experience, practice safe sex and are less likely to have an unplanned pregnancy or contract an STI.

"Many of the students attending SexFactor, previously have not received any sex or relationships education. So this is about arming young people with the information to protect themselves against unplanned pregnancy and STIs, to respect each other and to have the skills and knowledge to have safe sexual relationships.

"We have received requests from teachers to visit their schools to teach sex and relationships education because students have become pregnant. Many teachers are telling us they don't feel they have the training or information to properly teach comprehensive sex and relationships education.

"Marie Stopes International calls for the Government to make the teaching of sex and relationship education compulsory and to fund the proper training of teachers, but in the meantime we are helping local schools."

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Media contact: +44 (0) 20 7034 2389 (m) +44 (0) 7769 166 516

Notes to editor
*Conceptions to women under 18, 2008, Office of National Statistics

Marie Stopes International

Marie Stopes International is Britain's leading independent sexual and reproductive health provider, delivering services to more than 100,000 clients across nine centres each year. We are an outcomes-driven health service provider, delivering high quality care and clinical excellence.

Marie Stopes International is a not-for-profit organisation providing contraception, abortion, vasectomy, female sterilisation, STI testing and treatment and health screening. Globally, Marie Stopes International delivers family planning and sexual healthcare to more than six million people in 44 countries annually.

For more information visit www.mariestopes.org.uk

Krista Eleftheriou - Communications Manager, UK Press and Public Affairs
Marie Stopes International | 1 Conway Street | Fitzroy Square | London W1T 6LP | UK
email krista.eleftheriou@mariestopes.org.uk | tel +44 (0) 20 7034 2389 | Mob: 07769166516 fax +44 (0) 20 7034 2371 | web www.mariestopes.org.uk

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