NSPCC urges parents to “talk PANTS” in Underwear Rule campaign

The NSPCC has launched a campaign to boost parents’ understanding of how to teach their children about the dangers of sexual abuse, following a surge in concern from parents after the Jimmy Savile scandal.

The six-week campaign, called The Underwear Rule, centres on teaching children to be aware of five key points:

Privates are private

Always remember your body belongs to you

No means no

Talk about secrets that upset you

Speak up someone can help

The aim is to encourage parents to “talk PANTS” to their children with the view to reducing the number of children that are abused in the UK, which is currently one in 20.

Meanwhile one in three children to have suffered from sexual abuse did not tell anyone at the time, while nine in ten children were abused by someone they knew, according to the NSPCC.

The charity has seen a “dramatic” rise in awareness of sexual abuse since the exposure of the assaults committed by former BBC presenter Jimmy Savile last year, with the NSPCC helpline receiving a surge in calls.

However, although parents want to help their children remain safe the charity has found they often don’t have the confidence to explain how.

The charity has stated that although conversations about “stranger danger” are important, they are not enough to keep children safe.

The campaign, which will run across 60 local radio stations in the UK, digital display, and social media channels including Facebook and Twitter, is being backed by Netmums co-founder Siobhan Freegard.

Peter Wanless, CEO of the NSPCC, said: “The shocking case of Savile has horrified many parents and understandably it has heightened concerns around sexual abuse. But most abuse is closer to home and if we are to tackle this issue we must prevent it before it even starts. To do this we must educate our children about staying safe and speaking out.

"Parents have told us they lack confidence in approaching this difficult but important issue. We’ve worked with parent groups to devise a simple, age appropriate way of making sure children speak up if something happens. It’s a quick conversation but could make a big difference.

“It’s really easier than you may think and you don’t have to mention abuse or sex at all. Just ask them to remember the Underwear Rule".

Freegard said: “As parents we need to find a way to make our kids aware of the danger without scaring them, and that's exactly why the NSPCC is promoting the Underwear Rule. It's clear, simple and easy for even young kids to understand."

The news follows the release of an online YouGov poll which revealed half the parents of 5-17-year-olds who took part in the survey have never spoken to their children about the issue.

The campaign ties in with the charity's ChildLine Schools Service, in which it visits every primary school in the UK advising children on how to stay safe from all forms of abuse.

The NSPCC worked with creative agency Inferno on the campaign.

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