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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 October, 2003, 14:31 GMT 15:31 UK
Row over condoms for teenagers
Condoms row
Youth workers can offer condoms to under 16s
Plans to hand out condoms to children as young as 14 in Dorset have been condemned by a parent-teacher group.

The county's Federation of Parent Teacher Associations (PTA) claims such a move will encourage promiscuity and "make underage sex acceptable".

A county council committee unanimously backed the expansion of a pilot scheme where youth workers can offer contraceptives to under 16s.

The decision to extend the project, running in Wimborne since February, was taken by the Education and Overview Policy Development committee on Monday.

Anthony May, head of the county council's Youth and Community Service, said:" The idea is to talk to young people before they enter into a sexual relationship - offering a condom is a last resort.

"We do not condone underage sex and we understand parents are concerned."

"Absolutely furious"

But PTA chair Margaret Morrissey believes parents should have been consulted.

She said: "I would be absolutely furious if someone gave my underage child a condom.

"Parents that I spoke to are absolutely staggered that any youth service could offer this without actually consulting parents."

The UK has the highest number of teenage pregnancies in Europe.

Chris Griffin, 16, who represents the county on the National Youth Parliament, fully supports the scheme.

"It is a real breakthrough," he said. "It could decrease the rate of teenage pregnancies, chlamydia and other sexually transmitted diseases."



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