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Sexual health centre: Parents would be shocked at what their children know

By West Briton  |  Posted: February 01, 2013

  • Dr Kathryn Eccleston, who runs the drop-in sexual health service, The Hub, at Royal Cornwall Hospital.

Comments (6)

DOCTORS in Truro are seeing "younger and younger" children for treatment or advice regarding sexual health.

Health professionals say it is essential for children to be able to get the right advice in the age of the internet where sexual imagery is everywhere and pressure to have sex is greater than ever.

Figures released by The Hub, the sexual health centre at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro, show that for the past three years there have consistently been more than 100 14-year-old girls seeking treatment or advice on sexual health matters.

The Hub also saw 25 13-year-old girls in 2012. For boys the figures were lower, with six 13-year-olds and a dozen 14-year-olds being seen in 2012.

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Kathryn Eccleston, who manages the drop-in service at The Hub, said: "About half of the young people I see just want peace-of-mind check-ups and about half need treatment.

"We can't change the fact that young people are having sex younger than in the 1960s due to a number of reasons.

"People are being bombarded at a very young age with sexual imagery."

A study carried out by the UK Council for Child Internet Safety found 90 per cent of young people said they had viewed pornography.

Dr Eccleston said: "In any soap opera or film there are perfect women everywhere who are airbrushed and made to look unobtainable.

"Young women feel that pressure to conform and to look like this.

"It's even more worrying that pornography is being looked at much younger and it's complete fantasy and yet people feel pushed to live up to it."

All of the treatment and support offered by The Hub is confidential and parents are not contacted.

If any children aged 13 or under report their involvement in sexual activity their case may have to be referred to child protection officers.

Dr Eccleston said: "If they are under 16 we always advise them to talk to a parent or guardian and a lot come in with a parent or older sibling.

"We don't want them to be doing it behind mum and dad's back.

"If you ignore it they are gong to find information in a less reputable way.

"If you type sex into Google the top 5,000 results are ones you don't want to see – I think parents would be shocked at how much children know already."

The Hub sees approximately 1,000 people a month in total and Dr Eccleston said the majority of sexual health conditions could be resolved.

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  • MrPhil  |  February 04 2013, 3:57PM

    We can't solely blame "available pornography" when the country still lags behind much of Europe in terms of open and honest sex education in schools

  • Doitdreckley  |  February 03 2013, 1:25PM

    If there are not the same proportions of 13 and 14 year old boys and girls having sex this would suggest that boys older than 16 are having sex with 14 year old girls. They are *****philes and the police need to take action.

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  • jimjams2011  |  February 01 2013, 5:01PM

    Your website URL should give you the clue West Briton Journalist... THIS IS CORNWALL I can bet that the teenagers parents were teenagers when they gave birth. The problem is lack of opportunity in cornwall so the best option is getting pregnant and getting a free house and free money with free sky tv.

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  • OscarDelta  |  February 01 2013, 9:46AM

    Sunshineing, judging by your 14 year olds actions, your 12 year old IS nearly old enough to "drive a car" (using your similie) - if he's going to do it, wouldn't you rather he did it safely?

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  • Sunshineing  |  February 01 2013, 7:37AM

    When I discovered that my 14-year-old son was having sex with his 13-year-old girlfriend and the girlfriend's mother was letting them "do it" in her house I contacted the police and social services however the response was that if the children were both of the same age group and they both consented neither police nor social services were concerned even though it was against the law. I have just learnt this week from my 12-year-old son who goes to Fowey Community College that in science they have been learning how to avoid spreading sexually transmitted diseases. I am not really sure why teachers feel the need to discuss sexually transmitted diseases with 12-year-old children in a science lesson I guess it's just education or is it encouragement, (you don't teach someone how to drive a car until they're old enough to drive it).

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  • shotteswell  |  January 31 2013, 10:58AM

    Hardly surprising when Warwickshire CC put up such a gratuitous site with a sex dictionary . Respect your self.... or not as if often the case.

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