Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

Children with learning disabilities to be taught NSPCC’s ‘Underwear Rule’

nspccA new version of the NSPCC’s successful campaign the ‘Underwear Rule’ has been launched to help parents teach children with a learning disability about sexual abuse.

By collaborating with Mencap, the charity have been able to make the guide accessible for both parents and children with a learning disability as part of Child Safety Week (23-29 June).

With more than 60,000 people having contacted the NSPCC helpline this year about abuse and neglect and research showing that disabled children are 3.7 times more likely to be abused or neglected, the two charities agreed it was key for the ‘Underwear Rule’ to be accessible to all parents.

Jon Brown, Head of the NSPCC’s Strategy and Development for Sexual Abuse programme said: “It’s vital we ensure all children – especially those who may be more vulnerable to sexual abuse learn how to recognise right from wrong behaviour.

“This is why we are launching an Underwear Rule guide for parents and children with a learning disability. We need to make sure all children know the areas of their bodies that are private, that their body belongs to them and where they can seek help if they need to. The campaign is already proving successful – 400,000 more parents have now had conversations with their children about keeping safe from abuse and it is even helping to catch sex offenders. However we know there are still vulnerable children out there and with more people than ever before contacting us about sexual abuse we need to do everything we can to protect them.”

‘PANTS’ is an easy accronym to help parents to start conversations with their children about the Underwear Rule, which has now been re-written and designed in easy-read to make it more accessible:
Privates are private
Always remember your body belongs to you
No means no
Talk about secrets that upset you
Speak up, someone can help

According to the NSPCC’s research, nearly 63% of parents with children aged 5-11 say they have now spoken to their children about keeping safe from abuse since the launch of the ‘Underwear Rule’ last year (click here to read about the launch).

Jan Tregelles, chief executive of Mencap, added: “We know that children with a learning disability are often more vulnerable than other children for lots of different reasons.

“When it comes to sexual abuse, it is fundamental that children with a learning disability are taught about appropriate behaviour and that they have the tools to communicate their experiences to their parents. That is why we have worked with the NSPCC to make their existing Underwear Rule guidance more accessible for parents who have a learning disability themselves and parents who have a son or daughter with a learning disability. We hope that it will help parents to keep their children safe.”

To find out more visit www.nspcc.org.uk/underwear.

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