Sex education plan for Scouts
Chief Scout Peter Duncan said: "We must be realistic and accept that around a third of young people are sexually active before 16 and many more start relationships at 16 and 17."
"Scouting touches members of every community, religious and social group in the country so adults in Scouting have a duty to promote safe and responsible relationships and, as an organisation, we have the responsibility to provide sound advice about how to do that."
The new guidance says scout leaders can even give out condoms but "only if they believe the young person is very likely to begin or continue having intercourse with or without contraception".
Contraception can only be offered if without it "their physical or mental health are likely to suffer".
The guidance says leaders should "encourage young people to resist pressure to have early sex" and to talk to their parents or carers but "should be prepared to offer appropriate information" if it is needed.
A visit to, or by, a sexual health clinic may help to "break illusions of what these services are and improve the uptake of advice".
The Scouting Association said young people may feel more comfortable discussing sexual issues in the informal setting of a Scouts group.
Mr Duncan said: "I firmly believe that the confidence, skills and self esteem young people gain through the incredible range of activities Scouting offers is the best way to equip them not to feel pressured into a sexual relationship before they are ready." (source: yahoo news -uk)