Sexual health choices for homeless young people

Safer sexual health choices for homeless young people

The FPA Sleepin' Safe, Sexin' Safe project aims to increase and improve homeless young people’s knowledge of sexual health.

We worked in partnership with the youth homelessness charity Centrepoint and other youth homelessness organisations.

The project was funded by the Big Lottery Fund.

Why project like this are needed

Homeless young people are some of the most disadvantaged and socially excluded in our society. They are at more risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unwanted pregnancies and can come under pressure to exchange sex for food, shelter, drugs and money. This makes it vital to address the health needs of this group.

Many of the areas we work in across Durham and the North East are former coal mining communities with high levels of deprivation. In London we work with ethically diverse groups and communities in densely populated urban areas. Both areas have some of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the UK.

Who we helped

We supported homeless young people living in temporary accommodation.

We worked within homelessness hostels and accommodation bases across a large, rural area in County Durham and the North East.

We also worked with young people at Centrepoint accommodation services across London.

Acclaim for Sleepin' Safe, Sexin' Safe

The project has been recognised as an example of best practice by The Centre for Excellence and Outcomes in Children and Young People's Services (C4EO).

How it worked

We ran a course of 12 sex and relationships education (SRE) sessions that equip young people with the skills, knowledge and confidence to make informed choices about their sexual health and engage in healthy relationships.

Young people had to actively participate in the sessions which helps to increase their confidence and remove any fear and embarrassment associated with accessing sexual health services.

Sessions covered a range of topics, including contraception, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), unplanned pregnancy, relationships, sexual behaviour, and self-esteem.

We also promoted social inclusion and participation, develop independent living skills and educate young people about their rights and responsibilities.

Accreditation

When a young person completes one of our sessions they are awarded an Assessment and Qualification Alliance (AQA) accreditation. This academic achievement can really improve a young person's confidence and can help them towards education, employment or training.

Young people in London can also join our peer education programme and be trained to support other homeless people.

Project aims and outcomes

Homeless young people will:

  • Increase their knowledge and understanding of sexual health.
  • Be encouraged to use sexual health services.
  • Be equipped with the skills, knowledge and confidence to negotiate their own sexual health and relationships.
  • Increase their education and employment opportunities and have evidence of their achievements.
  • We also help homeless organisations improve the sexual health support and information they provide to young people.