Information for Parents and Teachers

2018 NATIONAL SURVEY OF AUSTRALIAN SECONDARY STUDENTS AND ADOLESCENT SEXUAL HEALTH

The following is a series of Frequently Asked Questions parents and teachers of Australian teens may find useful regarding their child/student participating in the survey.

The Secondary Students and Adolescent Sexual Health survey is a national study exploring the sexual health and well-being of Australian adolescents. The anonymous survey asks questions about knowledge, perceptions and practices related to sexual health and well-being. This is the 6th time the survey has been conducted in Australia and plays a vital role in safeguarding the nation’s health.

Project Team Lead

Associate Professor Christopher M. Fisher, PhD

Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health & Society

La Trobe University

teenhealth@latrobe.edu.au 

Why is my teen/student being asked to participate?

All Australian teens are invited to complete the survey if they are between the ages of 14 to 18 years old and live in Australia. Those under the age of 14 years or older than 18 years or who do not live in Australia are not eligible to take the survey.

How long does the survey take?

The survey takes approximately 20 minutes to complete.

Why should my teen/student complete the survey?

Completing the survey will give your teen/student an opportunity to provide important information that helps researchers, educators, doctors and others who seek to improve the sexual health and well-being of adolescents in Australia. 

What does the survey cover?

This survey is anonymous meaning no information that could be used to identify your teen/student will be asked. If they agree to participate and are eligible, they will be asked a series of questions related to their knowledge, perceptions and practices related to sexual health and well-being. Questions will specifically cover knowledge about HIV and STIs, perceptions of condoms and trusted sources of sexual health information, and practices related to sexual health.

At the end of the survey, your teen/student will have the opportunity to register to win 1 of 20 $100 Visa Gift Cards.

How will the survey information be used?

Anonymous (no one will be able to match answers to your teen/student, including the researchers) results are reported to inform national strategies to prevent transmissible diseases, such as STIs, and provide information to improve sexual health education and services across the nation. Anonymous results may also be reported in other ways, such as journal articles and presentations, but only in aggregate form. All data from the survey will be kept by La Trobe University for a minimum of 5 years, after which it may be destroyed in a secure way. Participation is voluntary and all results are anonymous (no information that could identify your teen/student is collected).

How does my teen/student agree to take part in the survey?

If your teen/student is between the ages of 14 and 17 years of age, you may wish to discuss their participation with them before they start the survey. If your teen/student agrees to take the survey, they can do so by ticking the "I agree" box at the end of the first page of the survey to indicate they have read and understand the information provided.

They can withdraw from active participation at any time by closing the browser on the computer and not completing the survey. Once your teen/student click to continue to the next page of the survey, those anonymous answers will be saved regardless of whether the entire survey is completed. Once they have finished the survey, they cannot withdraw from the study because we have no way of identifying the individual responses that belong to them.

Will my teen/student have access to the information they give about themselves?

No. We do not have access to the identity of any of our participants. As such, we will be unable to provide any individual with their information. However, publications that describe the overall findings of the survey will be available once they have been completed.

Is it confidential?

Yes, confidentiality will be maintained at all times. Only staff working on the project will have password access to the data. Also, no identifying information will be collected within the main survey and the survey has been set up at a secure website address provided by our survey provider. Should your teen/student choose to register their e-mail to win 1 of 20 $100 Visa Gift Cards, they will be directed to a separate website not connected to the main survey or their responses. With their permission, we will keep their e-mail address which will not be connected to their survey responses. E-mails may be used to inform them about other similar research projects in which they may wish to participate.

How can I obtain information about the survey results once they are completed?

The availability of any publications that result from this research will be advertised on the ARCSHS website in the future at www.latrobe.edu.au/arcshs. You may also request any available reports. 

What else do I need to know?

To complete the online survey, for each question your teen/student can select the appropriate response that is most appropriate for them. We ask that they answer each question honestly and to the best of their knowledge. Privacy of answers is protected as the survey is hosted on a secure system and only the researchers will have access to the anonymous responses. To withdraw from the study, your teen/student can simply close their web browser.

The minimum period for which anonymous data will be maintained is 5 years. The most up-to-date disposal software will be used to delete all data collected when further retention is no longer required.

The survey is funded by the Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Health and Ageing.

What resources can I use to be better prepared to talk to my teen/student?

The Resources page (click here) contains a list of online sexual health resources with valuable information on sexual health and wellbeing. The list also contains links to sexual health clinics around Australia which can also provide more information.

For more on how to talk to your teen about sexual health, we recommend the following resources: 

http://healthywa.wa.gov.au/~/media/Files/HealthyWA/Original/Sexual-health/TSTO_V2.pdf

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/talking-to-primary-school-children-about-sex

What can I do if the survey raises any concerns? 

If your teen/student experience any distress while taking the survey or afterwards, please have them contact Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or at kidshelpline.com.au or Lifeline on 13 11 14 or at lifeline.org.au.

If you have questions about this survey, you can contact the project lead, Dr. Christopher Fisher at the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS), La Trobe University at teenhealth@latrobe.edu.au or on 3 9479 8717. 

If you have any complaints or queries that the project lead was not able to answer to your satisfaction, you may contact the Senior Human Ethics Officer, Ethics and Integrity, Research Office, La Trobe University, Victoria, 3086 (P: 03 9479 1443, E: humanethics@latrobe.edu.au). Please quote the application reference number (18030).

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