Healthy Relationships & Sexual Health ACM Student services

This page includes:

  • What does a healthy relationship look like?
  • What is Domestic Abuse?
  • Addressing Myths and Stereotypes
  • Your Rights
  • Working Definitions associated with Sexual Health
  • ***Where can I get tested for STIs?***
  • Why should I get a Sexual Health Check-up?
  • Where is my local Sexual Health Clinic?
  • What will happen when I Visit a Sexual Health Clinic?
  • ***Information on Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)***
  • Information on Consent
  • Have safer Sex
  • Where can I get Emergency Contraception?
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What does a healthy relationship look like?

Healthy relationships bring out the best in you and make you feel good about yourself.

A healthy relationship does not mean a ‘perfect’ relationship, and no one is healthy 100% of the time, but the signs in the next slide (video) are behaviours you should strive for in all of your relationships.

Healthy relationships manifest themselves as healthy communication; another important part of a healthy relationship is loving yourself.

What is Domestic Abuse?

  • It is not just committed by Men:

Between March 2017 & March 2018

1.3 Million victims were Female

695,000 victims were male

  • Domestic Abuse represents one quarter of all violent crime
  • It is actual or threatened physical, emotional, psychological or sexual abuse
  • It involves the use of power and control by one person over another.
  • It occurs regardless of race , ethnicity, gender, class, sexuality, age , religion, mental or physical ability.

The True cost of Domestic Abuse

  • On average 2 women a week are killed in England and Wales by their partners or ex partners
  • Up to 15 women a week attempt suicide as a result of the Domestic Abuse they are suffering
  • Young people aged 16-24 are more at risk of domestic abuse than any other age group.
  • Nearly 1 in 10 will have been physically abused by their partner.
  • 1 in 13 women aged 16-19 will have been sexually abused by a boyfriend in the last year.

Controlling Behaviour

Controlling Behaviour is a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and / or dependent by :

  • Isolating them from sources of support
  • Exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain
  • Depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape
  • Regulating their everyday behaviour

Emotional abuse

  • Isolation: Depriving someone of social support and keeping them dependent
  • Humiliation: Where someone is degraded and humiliated
  • Justification: An abuser will justify their behaviour forcing acceptance
  • Threats: Someone threatened so they submit to the abusers authority

Addressing Myths and Stereotypes

  • What a person wears does not mean they should expect to be raped.
  • The majority of rape cases are where the offender and victim know each other.
  • Trauma can affect memory and create inconsistency.
  • Being drunk makes the victim vulnerable. It does not mean they were ‘asking for it’
  • Most victims do not fight; resistance and self-protection/defence can be through dissociation, freezing or trying to befriend the abuser.
  • Late reporting may be due to inability to cope with the trauma of the incident, fear of repercussions, maturity with age recognising the abuse, control of the victim, fear of going to court.
  • In cases of adult survivors of child abuse the victim may regress and behave or speak as a child.

Your Rights

  • To be treated with respect
  • To say no and not feel guilty
  • To express your feelings without being criticized
  • To have your own time
  • To feel safe
  • To make your own decisions
  • To then change your mind
  • To ask for what you want
  • To spend as much time with family or friends as you want
  • To make mistakes
  • To NOT be pressured into doing anything you do not want to do
  • To feel good about yourself
  • To be respected if you want to end a relationship

Remember Stay Safe

If you have been affected by the content within this module please look after yourselves & seek support from your ACM Student Support Hub Representative when you feel ready to do so.

Report Abuse:

Domestic abuse or violence is a crime and should be reported to the police - there are also other organisations who can offer you help and support.

Call 999 if it’s an emergency or you’re in immediate danger.

The police take domestic violence seriously and will be able to help and protect you.

Other organisations who can help:

Contact any of the following organisations to get help and advice about domestic abuse:

Freephone National Domestic Abuse Helpline, run by Refuge

0808 200 0247

Galop (for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people)

0800 999 5428

Men’s Advice Line

0808 801 0327

Rape Crisis (England and Wales)

0808 802 9999

Sexual health

According to the current working definition, sexual health is:

“…a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence. For sexual health to be attained and maintained, the sexual rights of all persons must be respected, protected and fulfilled.” (WHO, 2006a)


The working definition of sexuality is:

“…a central aspect of being human throughout life encompasses sex, gender identities and roles, sexual orientation, eroticism, pleasure, intimacy and reproduction. Sexuality is experienced and expressed in thoughts, fantasies, desires, beliefs, attitudes, values, behaviours, practices, roles and relationships. While sexuality can include all of these dimensions, not all of them are always experienced or expressed. Sexuality is influenced by the interaction of biological, psychological, social, economic, political, cultural, legal, historical, religious and spiritual factors.” (WHO, 2006a)

Sexual rights

There is a growing consensus that sexual health cannot be achieved and maintained without respect for, and protection of, certain human rights. The working definition of sexual rights given below is a contribution to the continuing dialogue on human rights related to sexual health:

“The fulfilment of sexual health is tied to the extent to which human rights are respected, protected and fulfilled. Sexual rights embrace certain human rights that are already recognised in international and regional human rights documents and other consensus documents and in national laws.

Rights critical to the realisation of sexual health include:

  • The rights to equality and non-discrimination
  • The right to be free from torture or to cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment
  • The right to privacy
  • The rights to the highest attainable standard of health (including sexual health) and social security
  • The right to marry and to found a family and enter into marriage with the free and full consent of the intending spouses, and to equality in and at the dissolution of marriage
  • The right to decide the number and spacing of one's children
  • The rights to information, as well as education
  • The rights to freedom of opinion and expression, and
  • The right to an effective remedy for violations of fundamental rights.
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It is recommended that everyone gets a Sexual Health check-up regardless of relationship status or sexuality

Where can I get tested for STIs?

You can get tested at:

  • A local sexual health clinic
  • Community contraceptive clinics
  • Call the national sexual health line on 0300 123 7123, or Worth Talking About (for under-18s) on 0300 123 2930
  • GP surgeries
  • Pharmacies can also test for Chlamydia.

Where is my local sexual health clinic?

ACM Clapham

89 Clapham High Street,



Greater London,


020 3049 6600

ACM Birmingham

Whittall Street,


B4 6DH

0121 237 5700

ACM Guildford

Guildford Sexual Health Clinic

61 Bury Fields,

Lawn Rd,



Why should I get a Sexual Health Check-up?

Many people with sexually transmitted infections (STIs) 'Do Not' get symptoms, so it's worth getting tested even if you feel fine. If you think you have an STI, the earlier you're tested, the sooner treatment can be given if it's needed.

An STI can be passed from one person to another through sexual contact, including vaginal, anal and oral sex.

STIs can pass between men and women, and from women to women and men to men.

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What will happen when I Visit an STI clinic?

You can make an appointment to go to an STI clinic, or sometimes there's a drop-in clinic, which means you can just turn up without the need for an appointment.

You might feel embarrassed, but there's no need – the staff at these clinics are used to testing for all kinds of infections. It's their job and they won't judge you. They should do their best to explain everything to you and make you feel at ease.

You can go to a sexual health clinic whether you're male or female, whatever your age, regardless of whether or not you have STI symptoms. If you're under 16, the service is still confidential and the clinic won't tell your parents.

If they suspect you or another young person is at risk of harm, they might need to tell other healthcare services, but they will talk to you before they do this.

What details will I have to provide?

When you go to a sexual health clinic, you'll be asked for your name and contact details.

You don't have to give your real name if you don't want to. If you do, it will be kept confidential. Your GP won't be told about your visit without your permission.

If you have tests and the results aren't available during your visit, the clinic will need to contact you later, so give them the correct contact details.

The clinic will ask how you want to receive your results. They can usually be given to you over the phone, by text, or in an unmarked letter.

What questions will I be asked?

You will see a doctor or a nurse, who will ask you about your medical and sexual history.

Be prepared to answer questions about your sex life, including:

  • When you last had sex
  • Whether you've had unprotected sex
  • Whether you have any symptoms
  • Why you think you might have an infection

You can ask to see a female or male doctor or nurse if you prefer, but you might have to wait longer than usual for one to become available.

What will the test involve?

The doctor or nurse will tell you what tests they think you need. They should explain what is going on and why they are suggesting these tests. If you're not sure about anything, ask them to explain.

The tests might involve:

  • a urine (pee) sample
  • a blood sample
  • swabs from the urethra (the tube urine comes out of)
  • an examination of your genitals

If you're female, swabs from the vagina, which you can usually do yourself

Testing for chlamydia and gonorrhoea usually requires only a urine sample or a self-taken swab for a woman. Testing for HIV and syphilis needs a blood sample.

Tests for herpes aren't usually done unless you have sores on your genitals or anus. In this case, a swab will be taken from a sore. This will be uncomfortable for a moment.

Getting your test results

With some tests, you can get the results – and treatment, if you need it – on the same day. For others, you might have to wait for a week or 2. If this is the case, the clinic will check how you would prefer to receive your results.

If you test positive for an STI, you will be asked to go back to the clinic to talk about your results and the treatment you need.

Many STIs can be cured with antibiotics. Some infections, such as HIV, have no cure, but there are treatments available. The clinic can advise you on these and put you in touch with a counsellor.

If possible, tell your sexual partner and any ex-partners so they can get tested and treated as well.

If you don't want to do this, the clinic can usually do it for you – it's called partner notification and the clinic won't reveal who you are.

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Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

Key facts

  • More than 1 million sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are acquired every day worldwide .
  • Each year, there are an estimated 376 million new infections with 1 of 4 STIs: Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Syphilis and Trichomoniasis.
  • In 2018, there were 447,694 new diagnoses of STIs in the UK, a 5% increase on the 422,147 in 2017.
  • Gonorrhoea increased the most - by 26% to 56,259 cases, the largest number since 1978.
  • There were 7,541 cases of syphilis - a 5% increase on 2017.

High-risk groups include young people and men who have sex with men.

The most commonly diagnosed STIs in the UK were:

  • Chlamydia (218,095 cases, 49% of all new STI diagnoses)
  • Genital warts (57,318 cases, 13%)
  • Gonorrhoea (56,259 cases, 13%)
  • Genital herpes (33,867 cases, 8%)


The number of gonorrhoea cases has been increasing for years among both men and women, despite repeated warnings from public health doctors about the risks of unprotected sex.

Sometimes referred to as "The Clap", it is a bacterial infection passed between people through unprotected sex.

It is not spread by toilet seats or sharing baths or towels.

Some people have no symptoms but can pass it on to their sexual partner.

It can be treated with antibiotics, although there have been recent reports of some cases of hard-to-treat "super-gonorrhoea" that are resistant to the usual choice of drugs.

People with any of the symptoms of gonorrhoea - a yellow or green discharge from the vagina or penis, or pain urinating - should visit their GP or a sexual health clinic for a test.

Gonorrhoea can cause serious long-term health problems, including infertility in women.

Experts are worried that many people are not getting tested for STIs when they should be.

Sexually Transmitted Infections In England
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Consent is defined by section 74 Sexual Offences Act 2003:

Someone consents to vaginal, anal or oral penetration only if s/he agrees by choice to that penetration and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice. Consent to sexual activity may be given to one sort of sexual activity but not another; e.g.to vaginal but not anal sex or penetration with conditions, such as wearing a condom.

Consent can be withdrawn at any time during sexual activity and each time activity occurs.

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Have safer sex

Always use condoms to help protect yourself from catching or passing on an STI. Buy condoms that have the CE mark or BSI kite mark on the packet.

This means they have been tested to high safety standards. Condoms that do not have the CE mark or BSI kite mark will not meet these standards, so do not use them.

Emergency Contraception

You can use emergency contraception if you’ve had unprotected sex (sex without using contraception) or if you think your contraceptive method may have failed (such as a condom breaking). Emergency contraception can be used up to 3 days (72 hours) and some methods up to 5 days (120 hours) after unprotected sex.

The sooner you get emergency contraception the more effective it is.

There are two types of emergency contraception available:

  • Emergency contraceptive pill (sometimes called the 'morning after pill')
  • Intrauterine device (IUD, sometimes referred to as ‘the coil’) is fitted by a specially trained nurse or doctor within five days of unprotected sex

Where can I get emergency contraception?

  • Under 25 years old? Emergency contraception is free from some pharmacies.
  • Many pharmacies in Surrey offer free emergency contraceptive pill (3 day and 5 day pill) to young people under 25 years old.

You can also get emergency contraception from:

  • Your GP surgery
  • Sexual health clinics
  • Walk-in centres
  • Also can be purchased from local pharmacies
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