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The sexual behaviours of adolescents aged between 14 and 17 years involved with the juvenile justice system in Australia: A community-based survey.

journal contribution
posted on 18.01.2021, 03:02 by Lorraine Yap, Jocelyn Jones, Basil Donovan, Sally Nathan, Elizabeth Sullivan, Sophie Davison, Ed Heffernan, Alun Richards, Carla Meurk, Megan Steele, Christopher Fisher, Bianca Ton, Tony Butler

Objectives

To overcome key knowledge gaps in relation to justice involved and vulnerable young people and their sexual health and to compare this group with their peers from other youth health surveys in Australia to determine the extent of the issues.

Methods

Young people, aged between 14 and 17 years, who had ever been or were currently involved with the criminal justice system were purposively sampled. The survey was anonymous and delivered using Computer Assisted Telephone Interview (CATI).

Results

A total of 465 justice involved MeH-JOSH young people, aged between 14 and 17 years, participated in the study: 44% Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander (Indigenous) and 37% not attending school. Of the total valid responses, 76% (n = 348) reported having ever had sex, with sexual initiation at a median age of 14 years. We compared these data with their peers in other Australian surveys and found that young people in our study had a higher engagement in sex and start having sex at a younger age, reporting more sexual partners at all ages.

Conclusions

The sexual behaviours of young people involved in the justice system in this study suggest they may be at a greater risk for sexually transmissible infections than their age-matched peers in the general population. Policymakers should elevate them to a priority population for targeting sexual health services and health promotion.

History

Publication Date

01/01/2020

Journal

PloS one

Volume

15

Issue

12

Pagination

(p. e0243633)

ISSN

1932-6203

Rights Statement

The Author reserves all moral rights over the deposited text and must be credited if any re-use occurs. Documents deposited in OPAL are the Open Access versions of outputs published elsewhere. Changes resulting from the publishing process may therefore not be reflected in this document. The final published version may be obtained via the publisher’s DOI. Please note that additional copyright and access restrictions may apply to the published version.

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