How Talk PANTS! can help adults keep children safe from sexual abuse

28/03/2022
Dr Prisilla Magee representing our Western Area Outcomes Group in Enniskillen and Pantosaurus

NSPCC, the Public Health Agency NI and the Western Trust came together in 2017 to roll out the Talk PANTS! campaign across the Trust rea with the aim of empowering parents and professionals to have simple age-appropriate conversations with children aged 4-8 years old about staying safe from abuse. Now in March 2022 we are launching a social media campaign to remind parents and carers about the messages and encourage them to find out more about how to Talk PANTS! Watch out for the campaign posts on NSPCC and partners social media channels during March and April and please like and share to support the campaign.

We want to continue to promote the campaign messages even further in the Trust area and whilst we know parents are used to talking to children about things like crossing the road safely, they can be unsure as to how to speak 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:

Leanne Brown School Nurse in Derry at Peace Bridge and Pantosaurus

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 you have these conversations will depend on your child – it’s all about whatever feels natural for you and them. A few examples of where other 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 the NSPCC website.

Leanne Brown School Nurse in Derry at Peace Bridge and Pantosaurus

We have 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. We also have guides for foster carers, parents with a learning disability, parents of children with autism, and a film for deaf children. You can find these on the NSPCC website.

You can find lots of information and support about talking PANTS on the website link. You can call the NSPCC helpline at any time on 0808 800 5000 for any advice, or email help@nspcc.org.uk.  If you are an organisation that would like PANTS parents’ booklets or posters, please contact Margaret.gallagher@nspcc.org.uk