An important campaign helping families teach their children how to stay safe from abuse has been running in Stoke-on-Trent, as part of an innovative partnership that sees a range of organisations join together to prevent child sexual abuse.
Together for Childhood, which operates in Chell Heath and Fegg Hayes, aims to provide help and support for children and their families at the earliest possible stage and at a community level to prevent sexual abuse.
Together for Childhood sees the NSPCC joining in a partnership with Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Staffordshire Police, NHS trusts, community groups including The Big Local, children and families, the voluntary sector and schools – with the aim of building a better future for young people and their families by identifying and addressing problems at a local level in a way that everybody understands.
Throughout the PANTS campaign, children are being taught the PANTS rule - Privates are private, Always remember your body belongs to you, No means no, Talk about secrets that upset you and Speak up – someone can help.
The campaign features cartoon dinosaur Pantosaurus, who highlights the key messages: your body belongs to you; you have the right to say no; and you should talk to an adult if you have a secret that upsets you - you may even see Pantosaurus accompanying Boomer around Vale Park today.
Research conducted by the NSPCC has found that many parents are worried that talking to their young children about sexual abuse would be daunting and confusing for them.
In Chell Heath and Fegg Hayes there is already a thriving network of community groups carrying out vital work for children and families.
These areas were chosen by partners involved in Together for Childhood based on the communities’ strengths, following an invitation from local community leaders to run the programme there. A panel interview also took place with community representatives setting out how they would want to be involved.
There are plans to expand the campaign across a wider area in the future.
NSPCC Local Campaigns Manager Ally Sultana said: "There has been some fantastic work going on as part of Together for Childhood and we thank Port Vale for their help in highlighting this important campaign.
"By working together across Chell Heath and Fegg Hayes, we can make sure as many children as possible are kept safe. Traditionally adults have always taught children about healthy eating and road safety but conversations about staying safe from abuse are just as vital."