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NSPCC relaunches Talk Pants campaign as figure shows number of 4 to 8-year-old victims of sex abuse has increased by over a quarter in Cambridgeshire

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There has been a 27 per cent rise in the number of recorded sex offences against children aged four to eight in Cambridgeshire.

NSPCC relaunch its Pants campaign after figures show rise in sex abuse victims. (4764010)
NSPCC relaunch its Pants campaign after figures show rise in sex abuse victims. (4764010)

In 2016/17 there were 151 sex crimes recorded by Cambridgeshire Police against young children aged four to eight, up from 119 in 2015/16.

The figures, gathered by the NSPCC through a Freedom of Information request, come as the charity relaunches their Talk PANTS campaign this half term.

Talk PANTS helps parents with children aged eight and under to have the vital conversation about staying safe from sexual abuse, by teaching them important messages such as their privates are private.

In England and Wales 6,613 sexual offences against children aged four to eight were recorded in 2016/17, according to police figures.

This amounts to 10 per cent of the total number of recorded child sex offences in 2016/17. There was also a 13 per cent increase from the previous year where police data allowed an annual comparison.

Research conducted by the NSPCC found many parents were worried that talking to their young children about sexual abuse would be scary and confusing for them.

To combat the issue the NSPCC has created a catchy song and activity pack - with cartoon dinosaur Pantosaurus - which don’t mention the words sex or abuse so it is easier for parents to tackle the sensitive subject.

The charity has also produced a fun video which shows other young children using the PANTS activities.

Donna-Marie Wright, a mum to seven children, is a passionate supporter of the NSPCC’s Talk PANTS campaign.

She said: “I think Talk PANTS is a brilliant concept because having been abused myself as a child, I wanted to talk to my children about staying safe from sexual abuse, especially the younger ones (aged 4 & 5) because they don’t really understand.

“It’s a fun way to engage the kids, and the PANTS activities are done in a non-invasive way – there is no talk of sex. As soon as they are old enough to understand, it is a conversation all parents should have with their children.”

Peter Wanless, CEO of the NSPCC, said: “We know that lots of parents have already used Talk PANTS to speak to their children about the dangers they may face from sexual abuse as they grow up, both in the online and offline world.

“However, the figures we have revealed today show that we all need to do more to help young children learn how to stay safe from sexual abuse, these conversations should be as normal as teaching them to cross the road.”

Parents and children can sing along with Pantosaurus, who explains each letter of PANTS. The acronym provides a simple but valuable rule that keeps children safe: that their body belongs to them, they have a right to say no, and that they should tell an adult they trust if they’re worried or upset.

The charity also encourages parents to order a PANTS activity pack ahead of half term from their online shop. The pack contains word searches, games, stickers and a bookmark for a suggested donation of £5.

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