In line with the Family Planning Association (FPA), Brook, the Sex Education Forum and other sexual healthcare providers we believe that sex and relationships education (SRE) should be a statutory subject for children and young people of all ages at primary and secondary schools. We also want to see it taught in a deaf-friendly way.
Our research revealed that deaf pupils are not being given the level of information and education required by the National Curriculum, nor government guidance, and as a result many have a poor level of understanding of issues relating to sex and relationships. We have asked deaf people about their experiences of SRE and worryingly D/deaf people are missing out on the basics in SRE. While the vast majority received SRE lessons at school (84%), one-third said they were not taught about puberty, 40% were not taught about pregnancy, and nearly half (46%) were not taught about STIs – all topics that are included in the national curriculum.
It is not surprising therefore that the D/deaf community experiences higher rates of unplanned pregnancy and STIs than the rest of the population. They are severely disadvantaged when they need to access healthcare services and information, and myths and misconceptions about sex and sexual health are widespread.
Only one third of those we surveyed were taught about sexual relationships and the law, and in our SRE session less than half (47%) knew the legal age of consent.
More than half believed that the role of contraception is to protect you from pain or catching a cold (54%), less than one in ten (6%) were aware of the range of contraceptive options available and only one third (33%) knew where to go to get free contraception.
Read more about our findings and recommendations in our Report which can be found on our website ‘No Sign of Support’