Teenage preg­nancy: Scar­boro’ fig­ures rise

Scar­bor­ough re­mains the teenage preg­nancy cap­i­tal of North York­shire.

The Scarborough News - - FRONT PAGE - by Poppy Kennedy poppy.kennedy@jpress.co.uk Twit­ter: @Re­porterPoppy

In 2015 the fig­ures for Scar­bor­ough dis­trict were lower than other ar­eas in the re­gion – the first time since 1998.

But new data, re­leased by the Of­fice for Na­tional Sta­tis­tics, shows the con­cep­tion rate for teenagers un­der 18 has risen to the high­est in North York­shire again.

Scar­bor­ough ac­counted for more than a third of all teenage preg­nan­cies in the county in 2016 – up from just un­der a quar­ter the pre­vi­ous year.

Over­all con­cep­tion rates for girls aged 15 to 17 in York­shire and the Hum­ber in 2016 have fallen by 9% com­pared to 2015, while Scar­bor­ough’s have risen by 27%.

Fig­ures for Scar­bor­ough in 2016 show there was a con­cep­tion rate of 26.1 per 1,000 women in that age group

com­pared to 20.5 the pre­vi­ous year. Rich­mond­shire is sec­ond in the county with a rate of 16.6 per 1,000 women, with neigh­bour­ing Ryedale among the low­est at 5.6.

Although Scar­bor­ough has a lower rate than Hull, it has al­most dou­ble the teenage preg­nan­cies recorded in both York and the East Rid­ing of York­shire.

Natika Halil, chief ex­ec­u­tive of sex­ual health char­ity the Fam­ily Plan­ning As­so­ci­a­tion, said: “It’s con­cern­ing to see large vari­a­tions in teenage preg­nancy rates be­tween dif­fer­ent ar­eas.

“Teenage preg­nancy can be a re­sult of many dif­fer­ent fac­tors, in­clud­ing de­pri­va­tion, but we know it can be re­duced by in­vest­ing the right time, re­sources and ex­per­tise into ser­vices and ed­u­ca­tion.

“This in­vest­ment not only saves money in the long term, but also helps prevent the range of neg­a­tive long-term ed­u­ca­tional, health and so­cial out­comes that young par­ents and their chil­dren are more likely to ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Since 1998, when records be­gan, Scar­bor­ough has re­mained in line with York­shire and has also seen a drop in con­cep­tion of around 58%.

Two decades ago, 61.3 women un­der 18 in 1,000 in the town fell preg­nant. This fig­ure has fallen to and re­mained un­der 30 since 2012.

Ms Halil added: “This dra­matic fall in teenage preg­nancy rates in York­shire and the Hum­ber is thanks to a great deal of hard work from health and ed­u­ca­tion pro­fes­sion­als, along with the in­vest­ment in ser­vices that we saw dur­ing the Teenage Preg­nancy Strat­egy that ended in 2010.”

Since 2014, and in 13 years since 1998, Scar­bor­ough has had the low­est per­cent­age of abor­tion rates in the county – show­ing many young women are step­ping up to take on the role as par­ents or fol­low­ing other op­tions.

“It’s also im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that whether or not young peo­ple are sex­u­ally ac­tive, or choose to be­come par­ents, they should never face stigma or judge­ment,” said Ms Halil. “Preg­nancy and par­ent­hood can be a pos­i­tive life choice for young peo­ple, and young par­ents de­serve to get the sup­port they need to make in­formed choices about their lives. This is sup­port that only prop­erly-funded ser­vices, along­side high-qual­ity re­la­tion­ships and sex ed­u­ca­tion, can pro­vide.”

A spokesper­son for North York­shire County Coun­cil said: “Re­duc­ing teenage preg­nancy con­tin­ues to be a pri­or­ity for North York­shire County Coun­cil and in par­tic­u­lar re­duc­ing the gap be­tween ar­eas with high teenage preg­nancy rates and the rest of North York­shire. De­spite the good re­duc­tions across the county there is still more to be done.

“The county coun­cil has con­tin­ued to in­vest in sex­ual health ser­vices and there have been no cuts in pro­vi­sion.

“The coun­cil com­mis­sions an in­te­grated sex­ual health ser­vice that was re-de­signed in 2015 and re­sulted in an in­crease in ser­vice pro­vi­sion across North York­shire with more clin­ics in more ar­eas.

“There is also an out­reach team that works with vul­ner­a­ble young peo­ple who strug­gle to ac­cess main­stream ser­vices.”

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