Sexual risks and capacities

Developing a peer-led educational resource to address sexual risks among young people


This project was undertaken by ARK and Brook Northern Ireland (Brook NI) from April to December 2013. Brook is the only UK national voluntary sector provider of free and confidential sexual health advice and services specifically for young people under 25. The project was co-funded by the ESRC's Knowledge Exchange programme.

This project was based on data collected in the 2010 and 2011 YLT surveys, namely questions on sexual grooming and risks faced by young people (2010) and 16-year olds' sexual experiences (2011).


The main objective of this project was to facilitate sexual capacity and confidence building among young people in Northern Ireland who are at the start of their sexual careers, ie. who have not been sexually active or have only been sexually active for a short period of time.


  1. We distributed questionnaires among Brook clients to collect a booster sample for the YLT surveys (dataset available here).
  2. We trained peer researchers to work alongside us on this project.
  3. We undertook 7 participatory group work sessions with young people across Northern Ireland.
  4. We developed a website and a poster about sexual risks.
  5. We gave an ARK seminar on this project as well as other presentations, for example at the 2013 Northern Ireland Sexual Health Conference and the 2014 Sexual Health Week celebration in Stormont.
  6. We made a submission to the Regulation and Quality Improvement Agency's (RQIA) Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) enquiry 2014.

Outcomes and Resources

  • You can find the Final Project Report here
  • Our website on sexual risks can be found here
  • View a copy of our poster here
  • View our survey questionnaire here

Related Useful Resources

  • See our ARK in Schools Resource page on Relationships and Sexuality (RSE) education
  • View the information about our 2012 ESRC Festival of Social Science event for post-primary school teachers on RSE.
  • Research Update on sexual health of youg people.
  • The Barnardo's Report 'Not a World Away' by Helen Beckett (2011), incorporating YLT findings on the sexual exploitation of young people in Northern Ireland.


Maintained by Dirk Schubotz

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