The national PANTS initiative is due to start on Friday and aims to encourage parents, carers and professionals to have conversations with children, in an age-appropriate way, about how to stay safe from sexual abuse.
It features Pantosaurus, an animated pants-wearing dinosaur who will help parents and carers talk to their children about difficult and sensitive subjects by promoting the PANTS rule: Privates are private; Always remember your body belongs to you; No means no; Talk about secrets that upset you; Speak up – someone can help.
A helpline will also be set up to provide more localised support to members of the public or people who work with children.
Trained staff will be available 24/7 on the phone and online to speak to anyone concerned about a child’s wellbeing or to offer advice and support. The helpline is free to call from Jersey and callers can remain anonymous if they wish. The year-long campaign, which is being run by the Jersey Safeguarding Board in partnership with the NSPCC, is due to be launched at a free children’s event between 10 am and 2 pm on Friday at Tamba Park.
There will be further public events throughout the campaign and awareness will also be raised in schools and nurseries.
Jacky Moon, NSPCC Jersey service centre manager, said: ‘Most parents now recognise that they need to speak to their young children about the dangers they may face from sexual abuse, both in the online and real world, as they grow up.
‘However, the reality of having these conversations can be both daunting and very uncomfortable. That is why the NSPCC has created PANTS and continues to develop new ways for Pantosaurus to help young children to learn about how to stay safe from sexual abuse.’
Glenys Johnston, chairwoman of Jersey’s Safeguarding Partnership Board, added: ‘We all have a role to play in protecting children and young people from child abuse and neglect. We are hoping that by promoting and supporting the NSPCC’s helpline in Jersey, we will be able to help children and families earlier before problems escalate.’
Meanwhile, on 20 April, there will be a professionals’ launch at the Town Hall, repeated in the morning and afternoon, where guest speakers will talk about child sexual abuse.
To attend the free talk, which is open to any professional who works with children, visit safeguarding.je/courses.