Officers are urging parents to contact the police if they suspect their child or someone they know is being targeted. The message comes as part of the NSPCC’s Underwear Rule campaign which was launched today (Monday 8th July). The six week drive will help parents by offering them guidance to help teach their children about sexual abuse.
The NSPCC Underwear campaign will be aired on nearly 60 local radio stations throughout the UK and is being supported by Netmums and will help these parents teach the Underwear Rule’ to their children during simple conversations. 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.
There will be supportive guidance for parents explaining the Underwear Rule. The NSPCC has developed an easy-to-remember guide – Talk PANTS – that helps children understand the key points of the Rule. (www.nspcc.org.uk/underwearrule)
- Privates are private.
- Always remember your body belongs to you
- No means no
- Talk about secrets that upset you
- Speak up, someone can help
Head of Public Protection for Lancashire Constabulary Detective Superintendent Ian Critchley said: “We are pleased to be supporting this innovative campaign which aims to raise awareness about the importance of educating children about staying safe and speaking out.
“We know that for many it can be a difficult topic to broach but prevention is always better than cure and we can’t underestimate the importance of those early conversations to make children aware of the dangers.
“Parents and carers should be aware and look out for the warning signs and report any unusual behaviour to the police or local children’s services department.
“Young people, who regularly go missing from home, truant from school, are friends with significantly older people, have received money or gifts or come home with unexplained injuries or bruises are all warning signs.
“One of the biggest challenges in the majority of cases involving children who have been sexually exploited is that many of those involved don’t think of themselves as victims. The men groom the victims into believing they are in a relationship them. The reality is very different – sexual exploitation is child abuse and victims face huge risks to their physical, emotional and psychological health.
“We do a lot of work with children’s services, schools, GPs and parents about the issues surrounding child sexual exploitation in order to help them recognise the warning signs.”
He added: “Sexual exploitation of children is a predatory crime and will not be tolerated. We have specialist multi-agency teams in place across Lancashire, which means we are better able to identify and disrupt offenders and those who pose the greatest risk.
“These teams regularly visit schools to speak to pupils about the dangers and warning signs and to raise awareness amongst teenagers about sexual exploitation. Ultimately we need victims to come forward any report any abuse so action can be taken.”
• Anyone who is concerned that a young person in their care is being sexually exploited should contact their local police on 101 or the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000. Children can contact ChildLine on 0800 1111 or at www.ChildLine.org.uk. Always dial 999 in an emergency. Alternatively people can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.