OPINION: New book to help start difficult conversations

An adult and child reading a book together

The NSPCC has published a book to help families and schools have simple conversations to help keep children safe from abuse – in an engaging, visual way. - Credit: NSPCC

The idea of talking to a child about sexual abuse can be a scary thought for parents and for many people it can feel like something they aren’t able to do.

For this reason, the NSPCC has developed a way for parents to help support their child to recognise what abuse is and how they can speak up if something upsets them.

The charity’s Talk PANTS campaign gives adults advice on how to talk to children, in an age-appropriate way, about sexual abuse, without using scary words or even mentioning sex.

As part of Relationships Education, all primary school pupils will be expected to leave school with an understanding of the differences between appropriate and inappropriate contact, that each person’s body belongs to them, as well as how they can recognise and report concerns or abuse.

Last year, the NSPCC spoke to 111,374 parents, teachers and carers about the Talk PANTS campaign and this year the charity hopes to reach even more people with a range of useful materials including the Talk PANTS emails that parents can sign up for and a Talk PANTS activity pack they can purchase too.

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The charity’s aim is to reach every child in the UK with Talk PANTS – so they know that they can speak out to a trusted adult if anything happens that makes them feel uncomfortable.

Also as part of this year’s campaign, the charity launched a brand new Pantosaurus book for children on 23rd August.

Pantosaurus and the Power of PANTS is the NSPCC’s first children’s book.

Pantosaurus and the Power of PANTS is the NSPCC’s first children’s book. - Credit: NSPCC

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This fun and important storybook will help families and schools have simple conversations to help keep children safe from abuse – in an engaging, visual way.

Pantosaurus and the Power of PANTS, the NSPCC’s first children’s book, was written by Rebecca Girlings, illustrated by Fhiona Galloway and Jamie Nash, and is based on the charity’s Talk PANTS campaign.

It has been published in partnership with Ladybird and features the NSPCC’s friendly dinosaur Pantosaurus who is celebrating his fifth birthday this year.

The book will help children learn about the PANTS rules which aim to support parents in keeping them safe from sexual abuse. From P through to S, each letter of PANTS provides a simple but valuable rule.

In the book, children will read about Pantosaurus getting a new pair of pants and Dinodad telling him that they will give him special powers.

Pantosaurus and the Power of PANTS is the NSPCC’s first children’s book.

Pantosaurus and the Power of PANTS - Credit: NSPCC

The book can be purchased at selected Matalan stores or online at Matalan.co.uk, selected Blakemore Retail SPAR stores or at the NSPCC shop with all profits from the sale of the book going towards the charity’s vital work.

In the five years that Pantosaurus has been helping parents and children alike the charity has developed a song and various other forms of media to help parents start those difficult conversations.

For more information about the Talk PANTS campaign please visit www.nspcc.org.uk/keeping-children-safe/support-for-parents/pants-underwear-rule

What are the PANTS rules?

Privates are Private

Underwear covers up our private parts and no one should ask to see or touch them. Sometimes a doctor, nurse or family member might have to, but they should always explain why and ask first.

Always remember your body belongs to you

No one should ever make anyone do things that make them feel uncomfortable or embarrassed. If someone asks, say ‘NO’ and try to tell a trusted adult.

No means no

We are all in control of our own bodies and everyone has the right to say ‘no’.

Talk about secrets that upset you

There are good and bad secrets. Good secrets can be things like surprise parties or presents for other people. Bad secrets make us feel sad, worried or frightened. Tell a trusted adult about a bad secret.

Speak up, someone can help

Talk about stuff that is worrying or upsetting. This doesn't have to be a family member. It can also be a teacher or a friend's parent – or even Childline online or via our free counselling service on 0800 111.

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