Tayside and Central Scotland

Caledonia Youth study highlights relationship risks

Conference starts
Image caption The findings were issued to coincide with the start of Caledonia Youth's conference in Stirling

A study by a youth support service in Scotland has found 77% of respondents aged under 21 had put themselves at risk in personal relationships.

The findings have been issued to coincide with Caledonia Youth's conference starting in Stirling.

The online and paper survey attracted nearly 900 responses.

Young people taking part in the study reported having unprotected sex, suffering injuries and getting involved in abusive relationships.

Hawys Kilday, chief executive of Caledonia Youth, said it was perhaps not surprising young people admitted taking risks at an age when experimenting was "normal behaviour" and a "rite of passage".

She added: "But life can be really tough for young people as they wrestle with hormones, exams, relationships, authority, worries about getting a job, worries about money and often how they look.

"They may well feel as if they are standing on the edge of a cliff.

"What we need to do is support them and ease them away from the edge."

She said it could be "even more challenging" for vulnerable young people.

"Try putting yourself in that young man or woman's shoes," she said.

"If they have exposed themselves to a potentially disastrous situation, underneath the bravado they are likely to feel racked with guilt, shame and worry."

She said it was important they were given "forgiving, supportive and non-judgmental" support to help "minimise risk taking".

"Sadly, that is not always the case as young people are often portrayed in a negative light," she said.

"Instead, we need to treat them with dignity and kindness, particularly when they come to us in crisis."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites