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Sexual abstinence only if part of SRE.

Teaching about sexual abstinence should be part of a comprehensive sex and relationship education (SRE) programme and not taught in isolation, Unite/CPHVA has stated.

Unite/CPHVA lead professional officer Obi Amadi was speaking after a private member's Bill passed its first reading in Parliament, which would require schools to give 13- to 16-year old girls 10minute extra sex education on the benefits of sexual abstinence.

Obi stressed: 'An abstinence-only approach will not be effective--teaching abstinence must be built into a wider SRE programme. What is important is that we teach SRE and that we provide young people with all information on contraception so that they can make an informed choice.'

She added: 'The 10-minute Bill should not be focused on girls only, boys should also be given information on abstinence--this Bill needs to be considered in the broader context.'

Conservative MP Nadine Dorries--a member of the socially conservative Cornerstone Group who has previously sought to restrict abortions and who raised the Bill--stated that teaching sexual abstinence could help reduce the rate of teenage pregnancy in Britain.

However, the National Children's Bureau Sex Education Forum said there was no evidence that an abstinence-only approach would achieve its aims.

In a statement, the forum noted: 'There is strong evidence that young people who have sex education that starts early and covers a broad range of topics are less likely to have sex at a young age, have fewer partners and are more likely to use contraception or condoms.'

It added: 'There is also extensive evidence that a "just say no" or "abstinence-only" approach combined with no information (or incorrect information) about contraception is not effective.'

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Title Annotation:sex and relationship education
Publication:Community Practitioner
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 1, 2011
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