SCARBOROUGH has the highest rate of teenage pregnancies in the county – for the tenth consecutive year.
According to new figures, the town has the highest rate of conceptions among under 18s than anywhere else across the whole of the North Yorkshire.
Scarborough has now held the top spot in the county for the past decade.
The latest data, released this week, shows that in the three-year period between 2007 and 2009 there were 274 conceptions in under 18s in Scarborough, with a rate of 46.5.
The rate, which is per 1,000 females aged 15 to 17, is also on the rise after growing from 44 in the previous three- year period.
However despite maintaining the highest level in North Yorkshire for 10 years Scarborough has shown a “promising” fall over the last decade. Teenage pregnancy rates have dropped 20.1 per cent from 55.8 in 1998 to 2000.
The fall is higher than the national average decrease over the past 10 years, which was 12 per cent, though Scarborough’s rate is still is still above the 40.2 recorded for England.
The figures, produced by North Yorkshire County Council, also revealed that although Scarborough has the highest teenage conception rate in North Yorkshire, it has the lowest percentage of pregnancies leading to abortion among under 18s in the county, at 39 per cent.
Carly Walker, teenage pregnancy strategic co-ordinator for the county council, believes Scarborough’s figures are heading in the right direction.
She said: “We are aware that Scarborough still has the highest rate in North Yorkshire, but when you look at the 10-year comparative figures there are improvements.
“We are bringing the rate down closer to the national average. Between 1998 and 2000 the Scarborough rate was 55.8 compared to a national rate of 45. These recent figures show Scarborough’s rate has come down to 46.5, which is a lot nearer to the national figure of 40.2
“This drop is a credit to all the agencies working together to try and reduce pregnancies within that age group in the Scarborough area.”
Miss Walker said her agency has been working on training teachers to give improved sexual and relationships education in school, and the spread the message that the majority of school pupils aren’t sexually active.
She said; “A quarter of youngsters aged 16 or under are sexually active, yet if you ask someone that age that will guess that figure to be much higher. We are trying to tell them that everyone isn’t already having sex, and trying to take some of that pressure off them.”
The figures lowest area in North Yorkshire for teenage conceptions was Harrogate with a rate of 20.9, followed by Craven with 22.5 then Ryedale with 22.8.
Behind Scarborough as the second highest was Richmondshire with a rate of 31, then Hambleton with 27.3 and Selby with 26.8.
Scarborough’s pregnancy crisis centre is based at St Mary’s Parish House in Castle Road and is open Mondays 3-5pm, Wednesdays 12-2pm, but appointments can be arranged outside of those times. The centre offers counselling and support for those caught up in a crisis pregnancy. For more information contact (01723) 352100.