Today, the NSPCC relaunches its Let’s Talk PANTS campaign, which aims to help parents start vital conversations about staying safe from sexual abuse with children aged eight and under. This comes as new figures show at 13% increase in sex offences against four to eight-year-olds
According to police figures obtained by the NSPCC through a Freedom of Information request, there were 6,613 recorded sexual offences against children aged four to eight in England and Wales in 2016/17. Accounting for 10% of the total number of recorded child sex offences during that period, figures show a 13% increase from 2015/16.
The release of these new figures coincides with the relaunch of the charity’s Let’s Talk PANTS campaign. Designed to help parents talk with children aged eight and under about staying safe from sexual abuse, the campaign was created following research by the NSPCC uncovering many parents worried that talking to their young children about sexual abuse would be scary and confusing.
To combat these concerns, the NSPCC has created an activity pack and catchy song featuring cartoon dinosaur Pantosaurus. Focusing on keeping children safe without using the words sex or abuse, their hope is that this colourful approach will make it easier for parents to tackle the sensitive subject.
In their latest video, children can be seen using new PANTS activities. Specific, simple guides have been created to help children learn the PANTS rules through fun, interactive questions. Two additional guides have been created for children with learning disabilities, as well as for autistic children. These simple guides can be downloaded free of charge. A PANTS activity pack is also available for free or a suggested £5 donation, which includes stickers, a bookmark, parents guide and activities.
Parents who are nervous or unsure how to answer questions that may arise from the campaign can also check out the NSPCC ‘how to answer questions’ guide online, which offers tips and advice on questions commonly asked by children.
Mum of seven, Donna-Marie Wright shared her support of the Talk PANTS campaign.
“I think Talk PANTS is a brilliant concept because having been abused myself as a child I wanted to talk to my children about staying safe from sexual abuse, especially the younger ones because they don’t really understand.
“It’s a fun way to engage the kids, and the PANTS activities are done in a non-invasive way – there is no talk of sex. As soon as they are old enough to understand, it is a conversation all parents should have with their children.”
Peter Wanless, CEO of the NSPCC spoke about their latest campaign.
“We know that lots of parents have already used Talk PANTS to speak to their children about the dangers they may face from sexual abuse as they grow up, both in the online and offline world.
“However, the figures we have revealed today show that we all need to do more to help young children learn how to stay safe from sexual abuse, these conversations should be as normal as teaching them to cross the road.”