17 November 2021

Sex, safety and school leavers – parents urged to have conversations with their teens

The Department of Health is encouraging parents to help their teenagers make safer choices while on Leavers next week – taking time to talk to them about sex and relationships.

WA’s Sexual Health and Blood-borne Virus Program Manager Lisa Bastian said having conversations leading up to Leavers can help young people feel prepared and less likely to make risky decisions in the spur of the moment.

“Research tells us that teens whose parents initiate these conversations often have sex at an older age and make safer choices than teens who are left to find out for themselves,” she said.

“While young people become more influenced by their peer group as they get older, family beliefs and values form an important part of how they identify themselves.”

Ms Bastian said when people had unplanned sex, they were less likely to use condoms, which could result in unintended pregnancies and sexually transmissible infections.

“It’s important to give advice and offer support, while also showing confidence that teenagers can weigh up different points of view and make informed decisions about their own health,” she said.

Parents of school leavers can find more information on talking to their teens about sexual health in the Department’s Talk Soon Talk Often resource.

School leavers can find more information online at healthysexual.com.au (external link).

WA Health is coordinating the medical zone at this year’s Leavers celebrations in Dunsborough.

The medical zone – operating for four nights from Monday 22 to Thursday 25 November – is part of the overall harm minimisation strategy and to help reduce the event’s impact on local health services.