Peer on peer abuse
Following an upsurge in cases of sexual harassment and abuse reported on the “Everyone’s Invited” website and TikTok, there is a new helpline to support potential victims in education settings. The dedicated number 0800 136 663, run by the NSPCC, will provide both children and adults who are victims of sexual abuse in schools with the appropriate support and advice. This includes how to contact the police and report crimes if they wish. The helpline will also provide support to parents and professionals too.
The Lucy Faithfull Foundation is a UK wide charity dedicated solely to preventing child sexual abuse. They run an excellent website: https://www.parentsprotect.co.uk with a learning programme, straightforward advice and short videos on topics such as family safety plans and what to do if your child does get into trouble online. There is also a confidential helpline: 0808 1000 900.
NSPCC PANTS campaign
The school works in conjunction with the NSPCC in sharing the key messages from the PANTS campaign with children in Reception and key stage one. Pupils are involved in assemblies and lessons which are aged appropriate. More information can be found on about the PANTS campaign can be found on the NSPCC’s website: www.nspcc.org/pants, including the assembly and a guidance booklet for parents, which can be found below.
Supporting at home
As a parent there is a lot you can do to support your child to develop positive views and healthy behaviours around sex, most importantly – talk to them. Talking with your child about positive principles for sex could help them to:
● say no to sexual acts or conversations that could harm them or others
● choose sexual acts that are positive and safe for them and the other person
● know they can come to you if something is worrying them
● develop positive sexual self-esteem
Tips for talking
‘How do I describe positive sexual behaviour?’. It can be difficult to know what to say, see below for a starting point on describing positive sexual behaviour. Parent Info also provides further information on talking to your child about sex.
‘When should I talk to them?’. Start having these chats as early as your child learns about sex, and if and when you sense their sexual interest might be developing or their puberty is beginning.
‘They won’t want ‘the talk’ from me’. There is no need for a big sit down chat, little and often is much more effective. Look for opportunities for small chats, for example using film or TV scenarios to ask their views and open up discussion.
‘It’s embarrassing for both of us’. In these chats you’re showing your child that it’s normal and important to talk about sex. It will soon become more comfortable to discuss and shows your child that they can talk to you about anything.
‘What else can I do?’. Starting regular chats is important, but you can also help your child with your actions. Lead by example, by showing respect, empathy, kindness and good communication in your relationships.