Hi, we’re CERT Scotland! Wait… what exactly is CERT Scotland?
Written by Eleanor Thornber
What does CERT do?
In a sentence: we’re all about positive contraception experiences - that’s why we called CERT, which stands for Contraception Education Reform Team. We want to promote the creation of equal, informative and, most importantly, accessible healthcare for everyone. It’s become apparent that the state of contraceptive healthcare in Scotland isn’t meeting these requirements yet, which is why we want to change it.
How do you do that?
We are a policy group campaigning for contraception empowerment - but how? Because we want our campaigns to be informed and supported, we base them on research. This research is founded upon the want to improve the experiences of all current contraception users. We want methods of contraception to be offered to everyone in an equal and open way.
What does that research actually look like?
It is made up of literature research, gatekeeper discussion and fieldwork, which is perhaps the most important aspect. We go out and explore the opinions and experiences of contraception users in Scotland. We have found a need to reform many areas of contraception care all over Scotland.
What campaigns have you actually carried out?
1. An argument for contraception reform
Found and explored the exact reasons why contraception reform is so needed in Scotland.
Stealthing is a serious form of sexual violence which can leave an enormous lasting impact on individuals who have experienced it. However, the law on stealthing is ambiguous - the police don’t even track for cases of stealthing or non-consensual condom removal (NCCR). It is currently not illegal in Scotland, and no one has ever been prosecuted for it. We hope to change the law to make stealthing illegal.
3. Sexual and reproductive health during COVID-19
Provided insight into the impact of COVID-19 on patients’ experiences seeking, accessing and utilising sexual and reproductive healthcare (SRH) services during the pandemic
What does your team consist of?
We have six branches of CERT, totalling nearly 60 people from Edinburgh to Glasgow:
Committee - the people who run the whole show, overseeing the vision and direction of CERT
Outreach - runs all external communications and CERT’s publicity
Fundraising and Events - organise the events that promote CERT, often with other companies that align with our values
Campaigns - organise the progress of CERT’s campaign recommendations, such as Make Stealthing Illegal
Social Science Research - broken down into the morning-after pill and the impact of contraception on libido
Biomedical Research - broken down into secondary uses of contraception, long-term impact(s) on mental health, exploration of male contraceptive options and queer women's experiences of contraception
So, what exactly are you trying to achieve?
CERT’s ideal world would look like this:
Scotland’s population is fully informed about the full range of contraception options and their side effects
An array of support in making and changing contraception choices
Contraception is tailored to every individual rather
More contraception options for everyone, regardless of gender, age or sexuality
Equal access to contraception