COVID19: Support for Professionals and Parents supporting Young People

COVID19: Information about sex and relationships for professionals, parents and carers supporting young people

 

COVID-19: staying at home and away from others (social distancing) guidance for young people

 

COVID19, Sex and Physical/Social Distancing

Everyone should follow government advice here on social distancing.  

BISH, who provide information for young people about relationships and sex have some helpful COVID19 guidance here.

Click here for general information which has been put together by PrEP doctors, the British HIV Association, HIV Scotland, the British Association for Sexual Health & HIV (BASHH), i-Base and PrEPster.

 

What sexual health service is still available for young people?

We understand how difficult it is for young people at this time and we want to reassure you that our confidential, non-judgemental services are still available to young people who find themselves needing support, including access to:

  • emergency contraception (often called the morning after pill) after having unprotected sex (sex without a condom)
  • testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • condoms to reduce risk of STIs
  • contraception to reduce risk of pregnancy
  • advice and support to reduce risk of pregnancy and STIs

We are running or clinics slightly differently at the moment to reduce the amount of essential travel and time spent in clinic, therefore young people should call for an initial telephone appointment on 0300 300 2016.

Contraception

We assess each individual’s needs on a case by case basis. We encourage anyone who is looking to start, end, or change contraception to contact us by phone. They will then be called back by a nurse or a doctor, to discuss their options, and assess any risks or additional needs. If the clinician decides that someone needs to be seen, they will arrange a time for them to come in. We are minimising the amount of time we spend face to face with patients, so as much of a consultation as possible will be completed over the phone.

1 to 1 Support  

Our sexual health practitioners provide 1 to 1 support to young people to help them make more informed choices about sex and relationships. This is delivered through educational activities and motivational interviewing techniques to help young people with understanding consent, supporting them to have honest and open conversations with their partner about delaying sex and using condoms safely, reducing risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. For more information and to make a referral, please click here.

 

Increased risks for young people online

The National Crime Agency is urging young people, parents and carers to ensure they know how to stay safe online as new figures show more than 300,000 people in the UK pose a sexual threat to children.

With schools remaining closed and education moving online, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection command of the National Crime Agency (NCA-CEOP) has warned that young people face an increased threat from offenders, who are also online in greater numbers.

The National Crime Agency through their ‘think u know’ programme has launched #OnlineSafetyAtHome education activity packs for professionals and parents to support children with their online safety. Click here for information and activity packs.

The coronavirus pandemic has led to an unprecedented rise in screen time and so it is important to try and think about the things that may change or make young people unsafe.

Think about the increased risks of spending more time online:

  • a lack of face-to-face contact with friends and partners may lead to heightened risk-taking such as sending sexualized images (sexting), or receiving them from someone else

Click here for information about Sexting, Consent, and the Law

  • spending more time on online platforms means young may be more exposed to online sexual exploitation and grooming, especially from someone who they have never met before.

Online groomers may hide who they are by sending photos or videos of other people, pretending to be someone of a similar age to build trust. They may try to become friends with young people through online games and apps and then encourage them to ‘meet up’. For information, support and what to do if you’re worried about exploitation or grooming, click here.

For more information about online friends, what to know if you’re thinking about meeting someone from online and what to do if you’re worried, click here.

Links to more information:

  • Government advice and guidance to help parents and carers to keep children safe online during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
  • Net Aware provides guide to social networks, apps and games
  • UK Safer Internet Centre provide online safety tips, advice and resources to help children and young people stay safe online
  • Think U Know is the education programme from NCA-CEOP, a UK organisation which protects children both online and offline.
  • Get Safe Online provides practical advice on how to protect yourself, your computers and mobiles device against fraud, identity theft, viruses and many other problems encountered online

 

NSPCC Online Hub for parents and carers

The NSPCC has created an online hub providing advice and support for parents and carers during the coronavirus outbreak.

Information includes:

  • keeping children safe from abuse
  • support to help children struggling with their mental health
  • support to help children with special educational needs

Click here for the online hub

 

Hampshire Police Partnership ‘Safe for Me’ website

This website provides teachers, professionals and parents with information and resources to help educate young people about keeping safe and making responsible choices. Click here to visit the safe for me website .

 

Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) - getting ready

From September 2020, schools will be legally required to have their Relationship Education Policy available on their website. This will outline what that individual school will teach, when and how. Schools are able to decide how to teach RSE but there are guidelines saying that it should be age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate. It must be taught sensitively and inclusively, respecting the backgrounds and beliefs of pupils and parents. At the same time, it aims to provide pupils with the knowledge they need of the law

 

So now may be a good time to talk to your child about relationships and sex.

Parents and guardians as well as young people can find it embarrassing and challenging to talk about sex especially if you are unsure about how to approach the subject.

Having open and honest discussions about sex and relationships helps your child to recognise the positive behaviours and to protect and safeguard them when they are ready to explore sex and sexuality.

Talking to your child about sex does not mean they will go out and do it. Helping your child to learn about age appropriate sex and relationships means that they can be empowered to make more informed choices and they are more likely to talk to you when they are concerned or worried.

Click here for more information to support parents with conversations

Click here for free RSE resources for professionals (available on a 10 day trial) through FPA

 Click here to free course on communication with young people

 

RSE advice email

If you have a question about relationships and sex education and talking to your child or young people you support you can email us directly and securely at snhs.sexualhealthpromotion@nhs.net