Core data on youth SRH and related services

W dokumencie Sexuality Education (Stron 34-38)

anonymous service only for them. The family doctor was simply closer and easier, and there was nothing to be ashamed of any more. At the other extreme end, Georgia is a clear case of a country where (premarital) adolescent sexual behaviour is strongly prohibited culturally. Between 2006 and 2009, several youth-friendly SRH centres were created, as part of a large youth SRH project. However, it soon turned out that they were hardly being used and were therefore not sustainable. One of the main reasons was that most girls did not dare to use these services, so that the centres were gradually closed after 2009**.

There is a mixed picture in Europe when it comes to whether youth SRH services are free of charge or must be paid for. In half of the countries, (most) SRH services are free of charge for young people, either because SRH services are free of charge for the entire population or because, in other cases, there are special arrangements for young people up to a certain age. In a quarter of the countries surveyed, only some young people have to pay for services, for example, when they are above a certain age, or they have to pay only for some services and not for others. In almost all countries young people have to pay for abortion.

* Personal information E. Ketting, former board member of ‘Rutgers Stichting’, the NGO running these youth-friendly clinics

** Result of an evaluation mission by E. Ketting in 2016, on behalf of the UNFPA country office Georgia (internal UNFPA report)

Apart from sexuality education, the status of youth SRH is particularly affected by the

availability and accessibility of SRH services. For this reason, the questionnaire also

included several questions on those issues. Only part of this information is included

in the comparative overview presented in Table 3.4 since some of the data cannot be

quantified or are too qualitative in character. Additional data are included in the country

profiles in Chapter 4.

Table 3.4: Core data on the availability and accessibility of SRH services for youth


Availability of YFS1

Paying SRH ser-vices2

Paying for


EC availability4 Consent age A & C5

School as source


Albania Few No No Yes A:16 C:N ?

Austria Widely No Yes Yes A:14 C:14 84 %

Belgium (Flanders) Widely Partly Partly Yes A:N C:N 86 %

Bosnia and Herzegovina* Few Partly Yes No A:18 C:18 ?

Bulgaria Few Partly Yes Yes A:18 C:14 25 %

Cyprus No Yes Yes Yes A:17 C:17 ?

Czech Republic Few No Yes Yes A:15 C:15 ?

Estonia Widely Partly Yes Yes A:N C:N 76 %

Finland Widely No Yes Yes A:N C:N ?

Georgia Few Yes Yes Yes A:18 C:14 10 %

Germany Widely No No Yes > 13 years A:14 C:14 83 %

Ireland Few Yes Yes Yes > 15 years A:16 C:16 ?

Kazakhstan Widely No Yes No A:18 C:16 50 %

Kyrgyzstan No Yes Yes Yes A:16 C:N 18 %

Latvia No Partly Yes Yes A:16 C:16 ?

Macedonia (fYRoM) Few Partly Yes No A:18 C:N 2 %

The Netherlands No Partly Partly Yes A:16 C:N 93 %

The Russian Federation Widely No Partly Yes > 16 years A:15 C:N ?

Serbia Few No Yes Yes A:16 C:N ?

Spain Few No Partly Yes > 15 years A:18 C:16 22 %

Sweden Widely No Yes Yes A:N C:N 50 %

Switzerland No No Yes Yes A:N C:N ?

Tajikistan Widely No Partly Yes A:18 C:15 ?

Ukraine Few No Yes Yes A:14 C:14 33 %

United Kingdom (England) Widely No No Yes A:N C:N 40 %

* Canton Sarajevo only

1 Are youth-friendly SRH services (widely) available? Few = mostly only some NGO services 2 Do young people have to pay for youth-friendly SRH services?

3 Do young people have to pay for contraception?

4 Is emergency contraception available for young people without a doctor’s prescription?

5 What is the age of consent? A = for abortion; C = for contraception. # = age; N = No age of consent

Regional overview

34 Sexuality Education in Europe and Central Asia: State of the Art and Recent Developments, BZgA 2018

consent set at 17 or 18 years. It should be added that in several countries girls under the legal age of consent can make their own decision if the doctor’s judgment is that they are mature enough to do so.

Respondents were asked if survey data are available to indicate the extent to which the school has been an important source of information for young people on sexuality-related issues. In slightly more than half of the countries, such information had recently been collected. The results, presented in the last column of Table 3.4, should be handled with caution, however, as these results are hardly internationally comparable:

The age groups in the samples are different or the question has been formulated differently – or for other reasons. For example, in Estonia, where 97 % of 16 – 17-year-olds had received sexuality education in school, the results are very different depending on the age group of the respondents in the survey5: 76 % of the 16 – 17-year-old girls had sufficient (or even too much) discussion in school on sexuality-related topics; among the 18 – 24-year-olds, the rate was 70 %; and among the 25 – 34-year-olds, it was only 48 %. The increase with decreasing age probably indicates a gradual improvement and wider coverage of sexuality education in Estonia between 2000 and 2014. In addition to Estonia, school sexuality education is a very important source of information on sexuality-related topics in Belgium, Austria, Germany and the Netherlands. These are also the countries where school sexuality education is well developed. It is an important source for about half of the young people in England, Kazakhstan and Sweden, and it does not seem to be a prominent source in the rest of the countries for which information is available.

There are only three countries in the sample where contraceptives can be obtained for free by young people. In all other countries, they have to pay for it, sometimes at a reduced price if there is a special subsidisation programme for young people. Several respondents from relatively poor countries reported that the price of contraceptives is often a barrier for young people, which confirms the results of a recent IPPF EN study on access to modern contraceptives in Eastern Europe and Central Asia3.

In 2015, the European Commission issued an implementing decision that emergency contra-ception (EC) should be available without a medical prescription, amending the marketing authorisation granted in 20094. Thereafter, EC can now simply be bought, without a medical prescription, in pharmacies or drugstores in (almost all) members of the European Union. Only in a few countries (Germany, Ireland and Spain) is there still a lower age limit for it. Only in three non-EU countries in the sample (Bosnia and Herzegovina, the fYR of Macedonia and Kazakhstan) is EC unavailable without a medical prescription.

In less than half of the countries queried, adolescents may have a problem obtaining medical (prescription) contraceptives (mainly the pill and the IUD) because there is a legal age of consent. Yet this is mostly a problem for the very young as the age of consent is generally 16 years or even younger. Only in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Cyprus does it lie at 18 and 17 years, respectively. In reality, the vast majority of sexually active young adolescents use condoms, if they use any method at all, and condoms are sold throughout all the countries. The age of consent for deciding on abortion without one’s parents’

permission is a real obstacle for young people. In a quarter of the countries surveyed, all young people can decide on this without permission of a parent.

In 10 countries, they can do so from age 16 on (or even younger). Only in 7 countries is the age of


1 Sedgh G., Bearak J., Singh S., et al. (2016). Abortion incidence between 1990 and 2014: global, regional, and subregional levels and trends. The Lancet, Published online May 11, 2016. Available at

2 World Health Organization, Regional office for Europe (2016). Growing up unequal: gender and socio-economic differences in young people’s health and well-being. Health behaviour in school-aged children (HBSC) study. International report from the 2013/14 study. World Health Organization: Copenhagen. Available at


3 IPPF European Network (2016). Access to modern contraceptive choice in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Available at http:// Eastern%20Europe%20and%20Central%20Asia.pdf

4 ECEC (European Consortium for Emergency Contraception). Emergency Contraception Availability in Europe (2015).

Available at

5 Lippus H., Laanpere M., Part K., et al. (2015). Estonian women’s health 2014. Sexual and reproductive health, health behavior,

Regional overview

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