Young people frustrated with sex education in schools

Young people are frustrated with how sex education is taught in schools, particularly when it comes to consent.

New research from Youth Work Ireland also finds young people are prepared to take matters into their own hands when it comes to finding out more; and that they want to be heard when it comes to sex education and the law, as well as morality and values, including consent.

On the back of the new research, Youth Work Ireland has launched a petition to urge the government to remove religious ethos as a barrier to inclusive and safe sex education for all, irrespective of sexual orientation.

The largest youth organisation in the country, Youth Work ireland works with over 100,000 young people each week. It has launched the petition alongside 'Talking About Sexual Health', a new resource designed to start conversations about sex education with young people. It comes as part of its Positive Sexual Health Campaign.

During its research, which included an online survey of 1,300 young people for their views on sexual health as well as a national consultation with another 400 young people, the need for inclusive sex education emerged as a key issue for young people.

It says young people said that Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) is not adequate and does not reflect the needs of people growing up in Ireland today.

The consultation work revealed that young people want to learn more about health, sex education and contraception, with relationships, law and teen pregnancies also identified. They want to change sex education and information on laws and morality and values, including consent.

Dr Patrick Burke, CEO of Youth Work Ireland said: "It is clear that there are serious issues around how we are talking to young people about relationships and sexuality in schools and more generally.

"Young people themselves have told us they want to see change and the NCCA is indicating it is listening in its current review of the subject. However, progress is extremely slow.

"We welcome the fact that young people from around the country in our organisation want to move things along much faster. They are particularly frustrated that the idea of a schools ethos can impact on such an important area.

"They want to see this changed and are now going to campaign on that issue.

"This is the type of youth-led advocacy that youth services are facilitating today responding to real issues that young people raise, in a timely fashion to make an impact on decision makers."

These initiatives take place as part of Youth Work Ireland Week which will see events and activities taking place across the country to celebrate young people and the role of youth services in local communities.

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