New Scottish app launched to help young people with autism be safe and have fun with their sexual health

CKUK Common Knowledge and Scottish Drug Forum have launched Be Safe Have Fun – the first sexual health and safety app developed exclusively for young people age with autism and/or learning difficulties.

The new app is an accessible learning tool that guides young people over the age of 14 to ask themselves some questions before they get involved in any sexual activity.

The app teaches users about keeping safe by asking them to stop and think about what they are about to do and teaches them what could happen to them if they take risks. The app then shows options on how to reduce or stop the harm associated with those risks.

The motivation for the app stems from a gap in many young people with autism and/or learning difficulties’ knowledge or understanding of issues relating to both sexual health and consent.

The app is fully accessible and has text to speech, videos and photographs featuring young CKUK volunteers, quizzes and is full of good advice about staying safe around the laws concerning sexual health and consent.

Speaking at the launch event, held at the CKUK offices in Glasgow, Marilyn Slavin, CKUK Director and Founder, said:

“We are truly delighted to be able to launch this digital resource for young people, which we believe will equip them better to understand the basics of sexual consent so that they can both be safe and have fun when it comes to relationships.

“Young people with autism and/or learning difficulties can often find themselves in situations where a lack of comprehension or perception of social situations can lead them into difficulties with the criminal justice system.

“Be Safe Have Fun is a guide they can refer to discreetly, wherever and whenever they need it.”

Adrienne Hannah, leader of SDF’s Sexual Health, Harm Reduction and Blood Borne Viruses team, said:

“What we found before developing the app was that some young people with autism didn’t really understand about consent, particularly when drugs or alcohol were involved. So, teaching them the rules around actually asking someone if they are consenting to something – in this case consenting to have sex – that was a really important message to get across.”

Ian, a young person who was involved with the development of the app, said:

“I think the app is great because it really gives you all the knowledge about things surrounding sex, alcohol, drugs and consent that I didn’t really get taught in school.

“It was really interesting to learn all the new stuff, because although there’s things I already knew, there was also loads of things that I wouldn’t go to my mum or dad to find out – but it’s right here in the app for me to access and learn about.”

Be Safe Have Fun is currently available to download for free on Android devices via this Play Store link.

The app will be made available on Apple products via the App Store at a later date – keep informed by visiting www.ckuk.org.uk

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