Teenage pregnancy rates across Hampshire have more than halved over the last 16 years according to figures from the Office of National Statistics, thanks to a sustained and successful multi agency focus.
Councillor Keith Mans, Hampshire County Council’s Executive Lead Member for Children’s Services, said: “This is really good news and shows that the County Council’s investment in education programmes targeting young people over the years is paying off.
“Working to reduce the rate of teenage conceptions among girls aged 15-17 is a priority in the Hampshire Children and Young People’s Plan (CYPP 2015-18). The focus, commitment and hard work of all the partner agencies has seen the teenage conception rate reduce year on year since 2009. For young people who go on to become young parents, support is available to ensure positive outcomes for them and their children.
“Data over the years has shown that teenage parents tend to do less well at school and are more likely to become NEETs (not in education, employment or training). This means that they often face a future of low paid jobs or unemployment. In turn, the children of teenage parents are more likely to live in poverty and are more likely to become teenage parents themselves. Reducing the number of teenage conceptions has been a priority for the Council for many years and a lot of work has gone into identifying the most vulnerable teenagers in the county and supporting them with information so that they are able to make informed safer sex and lifestyle choices.”
Evidence shows good quality comprehensive Sex and Relationship Education (SRE), and access to young people friendly sexual health and contraception services, reduces teenage pregnancies. In Hampshire free multi agency SRE training is provided for all practitioners working with young people. Parents and carers are also supported to deliver positive SRE in the family environment.
‘Girl Talk, Boy Talk’ is a single gender SRE programme delivered in small groups. This programme is offered to target schools to contribute and enhance the wider PSHE (personal, social, health and education) curriculum and is aimed at supporting young people make positive choices around relationships and sexual health.
Sexual health information, advice and contraception services are provided by the specialist integrated sexual health service and access to free condoms are available from a number of trained distributors across Hampshire. Young women can access free emergency hormonal contraception from many accredited pharmacies in Hampshire. The getiton website has full details of available local services.
Overall Hampshire has seen a 55.7 per cent reduction in teenage conception rates since 1998 to 2014, with rates steadily declining in all 11 districts in Hampshire. This is above the national reduction of 51.1 per cent and South East region reduction of 50.3 per cent.
The Hampshire annual 2014 provisional teenage conception rate was 15.9 per 1,000 female population aged 15 to 17. This is an 18.5 per cent reduction from 2013 when there were 465 conceptions compared to 377 conceptions in 2014.