The school curriculum, sexual consent, PHSE and Sex and Relationship Education (SRE) has been much in the news lately, debated by MPs and the media. So it is very timely, that the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) and Deafax have published their report called “No sign of support”, which brings together the results of a survey of over 100 deaf young people, with output from workshop sessions, and other research papers. It looks at young deaf people’s understanding of sexual and reproductive health, and highlights some potentially worrying facts.
We know that the deaf community experiences a higher rate of unplanned pregnancy and STIs than the rest of the population.
The report shows that deaf young people are missing out on the basics in SRE and many lack the resources necessary for them to make empowered choices about their sexual and reproductive health. These gaps in information and understanding put young deaf people at greater risk of abuse, unwanted pregnancy, and contracting disease.
A few examples:
40% were not taught about contraception
Less than half knew the age of consent
Many young people rely on images from online search engines to find out about sex
Over half said that is was acceptable for a partner to say, “If you don’t have sex with me, it means you don’t love me”.
Much of the problem comes down to how and when information is presented. The lack of visual material, no BSL interpreters in the teaching sessions, and the sheer challenge of translating key terms such as STI/STD – which may be completely new to the young person – are some of the factors which mean that the information is just not accessible.
The BPAS/Deafax report also includes sections on Pregnancy and Accessing healthcare services. You can download a copy of the “No sign of support” report on our website, under our SRE page or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org