Teenage pregnancy rates in Darlington rise despite falls across North-East (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Teenage pregnancy rates in Darlington rise despite falls across North-East
TEENAGE pregnancy rates in Darlington have risen despite most other areas in the North-East recording big drops.
In 2010 for every 1,000 teenage girls in Darlington there were 37.2 pregnancies. In 2011 that number rose to 39.5, putting Darlington back above the North-East average of 37.
Darlington saw the biggest rise anywhere in the region with the only other increase being Redcar and Cleveland, which went up by just 0.8 to 47 pregnancies per 1,000 girls in 2011. The England average is 30.7.
Miriam Davidson, director of public health for Darlington, said: “When considered over the past three years Darlington has the lowest teenage pregnancy rate across the Tees Valley and second lowest in the North-East for under 16 conceptions.
“In Darlington we are working with schools and academies to help teachers in delivering good quality messages about relationships and sexual health.
"When surveyed 80 per cent of young people aged between 13 and 16 reported that they had not had sex.”
But Steven Green, national director of Christian Voice, said: “I would like to know why Darlington has seen a bigger rise than anywhere else in the North-East.
“What sex education in the UK boils down to these days is telling children then can be as promiscuous as they like as long as they wear a condom.
"It’s just not fashionable among sex educators to talk about chastity and waiting until marriage."
Elsewhere, Hartlepool saw the biggest fall, reducing teenage pregnancies by a third from 55.5 per 1,000 girls in 2010 to 37.7 per 1,000 girls in 2011.
Louise Wallace, Hartlepool's director of public health, said: "This is a massive reduction in teenage pregnancies in Hartlepool and is the product of ten years of work.
"I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate everyone who has contributed to this fantastic result.”
Hartlepool offers 13-25 year-olds a “C-Card” which gives them access to free condoms from 40 different outlets. Officials also work with the council’s health teams and give talks in schools.
Deborah Gibbin, health improvement practitioner for NHS Hartlepool, said: “We haven’t got the statistics for 2012 yet but by this time next year we’re hoping to be level with the UK average.”