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- PublicationSexual Health and Sexuality Education Needs Assessment of Young People in Care in Ireland (SENYPIC). A Descriptive Mapping of Services Promoting Sexual Health among Young People in Care. Report No. 2This second report from the programme of research 'Report No. 2: A Descriptive Mapping of Services Promoting Sexual Health among Young People in Care' presents information on current services and initiatives relating to relationships and sexual health information and services that are currently available to young people in residential care and foster care. The information on the services presented was based on reports from the e-survey report (Report no. 1) and follow up interviews with service providers and social workers. While a range of services is presented in this report, and every effort was made for the e-survey to be inclusive, it is possible that some services were not captured.
- PublicationSexual Health and Sexuality Education Needs Assessment of Young People in Care in Ireland (SENYPIC): The Perspectives of Key Service-Providers: A Qualitative Analysis. Report No. 3This report presents findings gathered by way of in-depth interviews with 22 service-providers engaged in direct or indirect provision of Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) or sexual healthcare to young people in care. The findings build on Reports No. 1 and No. 2. The report sets out that while many service-providers support the provision of comprehensive RSE to young people in care, many report issues relating to the legal and policy situation that cross-cuts their work, creating uncertainty about how to approach both RSE and the delivery of sexual healthcare. Organisational legacy issues and a lack of workable and pragmatic guidelines were perceived to be key barriers.
- PublicationThe perceived impact of interprofessional information sharing on young people about their sexual health careThis paper presents the results from an analysis of data from service-providers and young adults who were formerly in state care about how information about the sexual health of young people in state care (YPISC) is managed. In particular, the analysis focuses on the perceived impact of information sharing between professionals on young people. Twenty two service-providers from a range of professions including social work, nursing and psychology, and 19 young people aged 18-22 years who were formerly in state care participated in the study. A qualitative approach was employed in which participants were interviewed in depth and data were analysed using modified analytical induction (Bogdan & Biklen 2007). Findings suggest that within the care system in which service provider participants worked, it was standard practice that sensitive information about a young person’s sexual health would be shared across team members, even where there appeared to be no child protection issues. However, the accounts of the young people indicated that they experienced the sharing of information in this way as an invasion of their privacy. An unintended outcome of a high level of information-sharing within teams is that the privacy of the young person in care is compromised in a way that is not likely to arise in the case of young people who are not in care. This may deter young people from availing themselves of the sexual health services.
- PublicationSexual Health and Sexuality Education Needs Assessment of Young People in Care in Ireland (SENYPIC): Composite Report of Findings. Report No. 6The aim of this report is to bring together the findings from the five standalone reports comprising the SENYPIC programme of research in one succinct report.
- PublicationSexual Health and Sexuality Education Needs Assessment of Young People in Care in Ireland (SENYPIC): A Survey of Service-provider Perspectives. Report No. 1This first report from the programme of research, ‘Report No. 1: A Survey of Service-provider Perspectives’ presents findings gathered by way of electronic survey (e-survey), which was circulated to those working with young people in care. The purpose of this approach was to gather information with as broad a range of service providers as possible to get a clear picture of needs from their particular perspective. The findings point to the broader psychosocial issues linked to the lives of many young people in care and how these are inextricably linked to sexual health and sex education needs. The results also identify a number of barriers faced by service providers in providing sexual health education and information and those working with young people in care.
- PublicationSexual Health and Sexuality Education Needs Assessment of Young People in Care in Ireland (SENYPIC). The Perspectives of Care Leavers: A Qualitative Analysis. Report No. 5This report clearly identifies the particular vulnerabilities associated with young people in care (YPIC). Although YPIC are not a homogenous group and arrive in State care for a multiplicity of reasons, engaging in risky behaviours, including drugs, alcohol and early sexual behaviour when in care, was commonly reported by the participants. Almost all of the participants reported having had first sex before the age of 17. What is particularly concerning is that virtually none of the descriptions of early sexual experiences involved sexual competence on their part – that is, use of contraception; autonomy in decision-making; being equally willing as partner at the time of sex; and absence of regret following sex. With regard to relationships and sexuality education (RSE), care-leavers reported that different people played different roles in their lives and the level and quality of RSE delivery varied considerably.
- PublicationSexual Health and Sexuality Education Needs Assessment of Young People in Care in Ireland (SENYPIC). The Perspectives of Foster Carers and Birth Parents: A Qualitative Analysis. Report No. 4The report finds that fostering was largely a positive experience for foster carers, although experiences varied according to the young people involved. Foster carers were very aware that many YPIC had additional needs relating to emotional and social skills, and to address these needs they reported using family norms and household boundaries as a method of imparting social skills. The majority of foster carers engaged in a variety of approaches to RSE, and some reported use of covert references to sexual behaviour and use of humour when telling young people about the importance of safer-sex. What is particularly interesting about this report is that the indirect approaches to RSE delivered by foster carers mirrored those reported by parents of teenagers (not in care) who were interviewed for the 2009 research project 'Parents’ Approaches to Educating their Pre-adolescent and Adolescent Children about Sexuality'. What is clear from both reports is that parents and foster carers have additional supports and resource needs to support them in delivering RSE effectively to young people at-home, as current strategies were often indirect and not always effective.
- PublicationThe silent treatment: parents' narratives of sexuality education with young peopleThis paper is based on research undertaken in Ireland that sought to understand how parents communicate with their children about sexuality. Forty-three parents were interviewed and data were analysed using analytical induction. Data indicated that while parents tended to pride themselves on the culture of openness to sexuality that prevailed in their home, they often described situations where very little dialogue on the subject actually transpired. However, unlike previous research on the topic that identified parent-related factors (such as ignorance or embarrassment) as the main impediments to parent-young person communication about sex, participants in our study identified the central obstacle to be a reticence on the part of the young person to engage in such dialogue. Participants described various blocking techniques apparently used by the young people, including claims to have full prior knowledge on the issue, physically absenting themselves from the situation, becoming irritated or annoyed, or ridiculing parents' educational efforts. In our analysis, we consider our findings in light of the shifting power of children historically and the new cultural aspiration of maintaining harmonious and democratic relations with one's offspring.
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- PublicationParents' constructions of the sexual self-presentation and sexual conduct of adolescents: discourses of gendering and protectingIn this paper, we explore the discourses on sexuality that a sample of parents drew upon when they talked about teenage sexual self-presentation and conduct. The sample consisted of 43 parents (32 mothers and 11 fathers) of young people aged 10–19 years. Data were gathered using in-depth interviews and were analysed using a strategy known as modified analytical induction. Findings indicated that while an acceptance the traditional heterosexual script permeated participants' accounts, and protective discourses in relation to young women were brought to bear, so, too, were protective discourses invoked in relation to young men. On the whole, young women tended to be cast as sexual subjects who chose to self-sexualise and this was sometimes seen by participants as a threat to young men. We argue that the discourses that parents connoted were multiple and sometimes contradictory, and our analysis problematises the notion that conventional discourses singularly cast women as objects of male sexuality. However, the overall picture indicated that in parents' narratives, young women tended to be more heavily regulated and either viewed as needing protection from male sexual advances or castigated for encouraging them.
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- PublicationThe role of knowledge in the contraceptive behaviour of sexually active young people in state careAim: To analyse the role of sex-focused knowledge in the contraceptive behaviour of sexually active young people in state care. Methods: The sample consisted of 19 care leavers (young people previously in state care) aged 18–22 years, 16 females and 3 males. In-depth interviewing was the method of data collection, and a qualitative strategy resembling modified analytical induction was used to analyse data. Findings: Findings indicated that a lack of information was not the sole or even the primary reason for engaging in unsafe sexual practices. Other factors such as ambivalence to becoming pregnant also featured in participants' accounts. Several participants conveyed a relatively weak sense of agency about consistently using contraception. A small number of participants expressed a strong determination to avoid pregnancy, and these appeared to have a level of anxiety about becoming pregnant that motivated them to engage with knowledge about contraception and its use. Conclusion: Lack of sex-focused information is just one aspect of a myriad of complex factors, including socioeconomic disadvantage and/or emotional deprivation, that influence contraceptive behaviour.