Updated: Friday, 6th December 2019 @ 8:37pm

Talk PANTS! Manchester parents urged to ask children about sex abuse to combat silence over issue

Talk PANTS! Manchester parents urged to ask children about sex abuse to combat silence over issue

By Emily Wolstencroft

Manchester parents are being warned about the importance of talking to children about sex abuse as the NSPCC launches a new campaign labelled ‘Underwear Rule’.

Worryingly, half of parents of 5-17-year-olds have never spoken to their sons or daughters about the issue, a YouGov survey revealed.

Two in five parents who did talk to their child admitted the conversation was ‘difficult’, while 11% believe that strangers are more likely to abuse their children, despite statistics showing 90% of abuse is by someone known to the child.

The survey has prompted an advertising campaign by the NSPCC across 60 radio stations in the North West and beyond.

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.”

Using an acronym of ‘PANTS’, the children’s charity has devised a simple way for children to understand sexual abuse in age-appropriate terms.

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 campaign complements the organisation’s ChildLine Schools Service which is visiting every primary school in the UK advising children on how to stay safe from all forms of abuse.

Siobhan Freegard of support network site Netsmum who are supporting the NSPCC campaign, said: "It's every parents' worst nightmare to find their child has been touched inappropriately – and no family wants to think it will ever happen to them.

“But as the statistics show it does happen to one in 20 kids, and nine times out of ten by someone known to the child. So by talking about it, you are taking the first steps to keeping your children safe.

“No one can deny it's a tough conversation to have. As a mum I can talk openly to my children about stranger-danger. I can talk easily about bullying and how to always tell an adult. But talking about them being touched intimately feels much more difficult.

“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.”

Recent media investigations have sparked a public outrage at historic and prolific child sex abuse cases causing an increased awareness of sexual abuse and its impacts leading to a surge in calls to NSPCC and Childline.

A few weeks ago, Christoper Biggins lashed out at Savile claiming him to be ‘one of the nastiest people ever’ in an exclusive interview with MM.

“They are scum. Why should we spend millions of pounds keeping them in prison?” the 64-year-old TV personality said.

“Certainly I think that anybody who touches a child sexually, I would actually go out and kill them.”

Mr Wanless 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.”

For more information and downloads  go to www.nspcc.org.uk/underwearrule

Adults concerned about a child can call the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000.

Children can contact ChildLine on 0800 1111 or at www.ChildLine.org.uk

Picture courtesy of apdk, with thanks.

For more on this story and many others, follow Mancunian Matters on Twitter and Facebook.