IT’S that time of year again where students across Perth travel down south, after finishing exams and their final year of high school, for the anticipated Leavers celebration.
The team at Sexual Health Quarters (SHQ) have compiled a list of tips for both leavers and their parents to help them stay safe while celebrating the end of their schooling.
SHG has suggested parents of leavers;
1. Try and initiate a conversation about having a good time, but staying safe.
2. Establish a plan for communication while they are away. For example, a text at 6pm each night, as well as what to do in an emergency. Ensure they have emergency contact details for the area they are staying in.
3. Encourage questions, and be willing to redirect them to reputable sources of information if you don’t have the answers. Remind them sexual health support services like SHQ are available and offer free appointments for under 18s as well as drop-in appointments.
4. Where possible, encourage your leaver to think ahead what they plan to do at leavers. Remind them that drinking and taking drugs can affect their ability to stay safe, and suggest they consider the ‘buddy’ system (where one person stays sober).
SHG has suggested leavers for 2018:
1. Consider what you plan to do at parties or holidays before the event – don’t make last minute decisions you might regret.
2. Don’t feel pressured to take part in any activities you don’t want to. When it comes to taking part in any sexual activities, take your time deciding.
3. Try and talk about safe sex early on with any partner/s, before the heat of the moment, and take some condoms with you – just in case.
4. Remember emergency contraception is available over the counter at most pharmacies, and that it is effective if taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex (there is some protection for up to 5 days afterwards).
5. Remember it is illegal to take advantage of someone if they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and both partners must always consent to sex.
6. Drinking and taking drugs can increase your risk of sexual assault. You can minimise your risk by drinking alcohol in moderation and drinking plenty of water.
7. Ensure anyone you’re planning on sending sexually explicit images to has given consent for you to do so. Only send these types of images if you feel comfortable and can trust the person you’re sending them to – think carefully. Forwarding, sharing online or showing others sexually explicit images without the person’s consent is illegal, and can result in serious consequences.
8. Think about what you post on social media. Once a picture is online it has the potential to stay there forever.
9. Use all the services available in the area you’re celebrating. They are all there to help you have a good time, so interact with them, get freebies, have a chat and get to know the people who are there to help. Don’t be afraid to ask them anything – if they don’t know they can re-direct you to someone who does. SHQ staff will be in Dunsborough during leavers celebrations.
Phone the Sexual Health Helpline on 9227 6178 or 1800 198 205 for a confidential chat about anything sexual-health related, or visit shq.org.au.