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Sexual health week 2019

Thank you for supporting our first Sexual Health Week 

The theme for #SHW19 was relationships, sex and disability. Brook wants a society where all young people are free to be themselves. We fight tirelessly every day for young people’s right to quality education and sexual health services so that they can take control of their wellbeing, enjoy healthy relationships and explore their identities. We are committed to changing attitudes, challenging prejudices and championing equality so that all young people can lead happy, healthy lives.

Thank you for supporting this campaign. We know there is still a long way to go before the dialogue around sex, relationships and disability is normalised. Please continue to share the resources below with young people, with colleagues and on social media. If you or your company would like to support sexual health week 2020 please get in touch!

Personally it would help a lot if disabled people and the use of mobility aids was normalised and included in advertising. Give me people in wheelchairs in advertising for sex toys, include disabled voices on panels about sex education. The more we’re seen the less taboo it becomes." Rachelle, 24

Press release

Young people with a learning disability are being denied sex-positive relationships and sex education due to societal stigma

  • 80% of professionals delivering sex education to young people with a learning disabilitystruggle to find accessible resources
  • 80% are unable to find relatable images
  • 54% cannot access training to help with sex education
  • 36% say that sex education is not prioritised in their school

Read Brook’s sexual health week 2019 press release

Read Brook’s position paper on sexual and reproductive health and rights for people with a learning disability

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

“I fully support Brook’s efforts to end the stigma surrounding sex and disability. We are very clear in the new guidance, that Relationships and Sex Education must be accessible for all pupils.

“We are playing our part to ensure young people are educated about sex and relationships by making it compulsory for all secondary schools from September 2020.”

New free resources and guides

Brook’s Sexual Expression resource including activities and image cards
This resource is an updated excerpt from Brook’s 2010 resource Living your Life, which was produced with extensive support from David S Stewart and Sarah Bustard from Oak Field School and Sports College in Nottingham. Living your Life was produced in collaboration with young people and adults with learning difficulties and disabilities, and staff working in education, health and social care settings. 

Brook and Mencap guide for healthcare professionals on making services more accessible

Brook and Mencap guide for families and carers on talking about sex and relationships to a young person with a learning disability

Brook and IPPF films

Brook and Fettle

British Sign Language films

Sex, relationships and disability – the facts

As highlighted by learning disability charity, Mencap, people with a learning disability face multiple barriers when it comes to developing intimate or sexual relationships, and this includes a lack of adequate relationships and sex education (RSE). Without RSE, young people are denied the skills and knowledge to have healthy and fulfilling friendships and relationships and to understand and explore their own sexuality.

Teachers also face barriers when supporting young people with disabilities. When the Sex Education Forum surveyed teachers of RSE, only 29% said they had received training in the subject and 99% wanted practical advice on meeting the needs of pupils with SEND. 

Furthermore, disability charity Enhance the UK say that they talk to disabled people every day who are struggling to access basic sexual health services such as STI screening, and that targeted relationships education for young disabled people is practically non-existent.

Watch this short film produced in partnership with IPPF and Enhance the UK:

Useful links