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Campaign Launched In York To Help Keep Children Safe


6:18am 18th June 2014
(Updated 2:00pm 18th June 2014)

City of York Council and the York Safeguarding Children Board are working with the NSPCC to roll-out the Underwear Rule campaign across the city, starting with a special launch event next week (18 June).  Guests will have the chance to hear about the campaign, understand more about how parents be supported to talk to their children about sexual abuse and pick up useful materials and tips.

The thought of a child being abused is not something anyone – least of all a parent – can bear to contemplate.   With high profile sexual abuse cases dominating the news in recent months it’s been a hard subject to get away from.  But most parents want to do whatever they can to protect children, and the NSPCC says that having regular conversations about keeping safe plays a key role in helping to do this.  ‘Stranger danger’ is something most parents feel comfortable talking with their children about, but broaching the subject of other forms of potential abuse in  a way that’s both  understandable and appropriate is more challenging.

The Underwear Rule is a simple and age appropriate way to teach even young children that anything covered by their underwear is theirs and theirs alone. Their privates are private, their body belongs to them, and they should always talk to a trusted adult if something makes them feel uncomfortable. Conversations can be built into bath time, getting dressed or going swimming and don’t have to be scary, long or complicated.

Councillor Janet Looker, Cabinet member for Education, Children and Young People, City of York Council, said: “Many parents find it difficult to know when or how to talk to their children about how to protect themselves from abuse. That’s what’s so great about the underwear rule. It’s easy to bring up during everyday activities, such as getting dressed, and it’s suitable for even very young children. I hope that parents will find it a useful way to tackle this difficult, but important topic.”

The NSPCC’s ‘Underwear Rule’ campaign was originally launched last summer after research showed that parents are concerned about the issue, but are scared of ruining their child’s innocence or saying the wrong thing.  Last month models Abbey Clancy and Melinda Messenger pledged their support for the campaign.

As part of the campaign, the NSPCC has developed an easy-to-remember guide – Talk PANTS – that helps children understand the key points of the rule.

Privates are private

Always remember your body belongs to you

No means no

Talk about secrets that upset you

Speak up, someone can help

Helen Westerman, NSPCC campaigns coordinator said:

“It’s vital that children are equipped to recognise the wrong kind of behaviour and keep themselves safe.  We must help them to understand that it’s not right for anyone to touch the places that are private to them, no matter who they are.

“The Underwear Rule is an important part of this process and is already striking a chord with some parents but we would urge more to get involved. We’re delighted that York have committed to helping us spread the message across the city and look forward to launching our campaign together next week.”

Free supportive materials for parents are available now online at www.nspcc.org.uk/underwear

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