NSPCC, PHA and BSHCT along with a range of multi-agency partners including Parenting NI have come together to roll out the PANTS campaign across the Belfast area to empower parents and professionals to have simple age-appropriate conversations with children aged 4-8 years old to help protect them from sexual abuse.
The campaign launch was held on Wednesday 28th September with a range of campaign partners and experts helping to set the scene for the campaign which will run for the next six months across the Belfast area.
After the launch event workshops will be held to help professionals gain confidence in using the campaign resources and messages, this will be followed by activities in the community with families and children directly, where Pantosaurus, the campaigns friendly mascot will be on tour appearing at events and visiting schools as well as other settings.
So, to explain more about the PANTS campaign messaging here is some background to the campaign. We know that we are used to talking to children about things like crossing the road safely. But what about speaking to them about messages that will help to keep them safe from sexual abuse? We understand that talking about this topic might feel daunting. But it doesn’t have to be. PANTS has been created specifically, with the help of parents and professionals, to make sure these conversations are as easy and appropriate as possible for children from the age of four upwards.
The PANTS tools and resources give adults simple ways to open these conversations in a clear and child-friendly way to give children confidence and knowledge. The key messages are:
P – Privates are privates.
A – Always remember your body belongs to you.
N – No means no.
T – Talk about secrets that upset you.
S – Speak up, someone can help.
Every family is different and when and where parents or carers have these conversations will depend on their child – it’s all about whatever feels natural for them. A few examples of where parents have told us it worked for them have included bath time, getting dressed, car journeys, out for a walk or swimming. Or, start talking PANTS with the help of our friendly dinosaur mascot Pantosaurus featured throughout our website page and materials.
There is a range of other PANTS guides for parents, carers and children, including guides in a number of different languages and for people with a disability. There are also guides for foster carers, parents with a learning disability, parents of children with autism, and a film for deaf children as well as a PANTS Makaton resource. You can find these on the NSPCC website – www.nspcc.org.uk/pants
You can find lots of information and support about talking PANTS on the website link. Or call the NSPCC helpline at any time on 0808 800 5000 for any advice, or email email@example.com.
If you would like any more information on the Belfast Area PANTS Campaign and how to get involved please contact: Margaret Gallagher, Head of Local Campaigns, NSPCC firstname.lastname@example.org