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Urging parents to 'talk PANTS'

Fiona is lending her support to an NSPCC campaign launching this week, which aims to help parents protect their children from sexual abuse.

Background information and the campaign video can be found at:

Background information and the campaign video can be found at:

She was amongst guests attending an NSPCC summer reception at Parliament last week (2 July) where they not only had the opportunity to meet the NSPCC’s new Chief Executive Peter Wanless, but also were given a preview of the charity’s Underwear Rule campaign which launched on 8 July. Ms Mactaggart gave her commitment to help promote the campaign’s messages with a recorded video message of support.

Awareness of sexual abuse has risen dramatically since the vast catalogue of assaults committed by Jimmy Savile were revealed last year, with the NSPCC’s helpline experiencing a huge rise in calls.  But while parents want to help their children stay safe from sexual abuse many don’t always have the confidence to explain how.  A YouGov poll conducted recently on behalf of the NSPCC revealed that that half the parents of 5-17-year-olds who took part in the survey had never spoken to their sons or daughters about the issue and more than two in five (43%) said it was a difficult conversation.

The six week advertising campaign, which will be aired on nearly 60 local radio stations throughout the UK and supported by Netmums, will help these parents teach the ‘Underwear Rule’ to their children during simple conversations. The campaign complements the organisation’s ChildLine Schools Service which is visiting every primary school in the UK advising children on how to stay safe from all forms of abuse.

The campaign provides supportive guidance for parents explaining the Underwear Rule. The NSPCC has developed an easy-to-remember guide – Talk PANTS – that helps children understand the key points of the 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.

Peter Wanless, new CEO of the NSPCC, said:

We are grateful for the support of Fiona.  The shocking case of Savile has horrified many parents and understandably it has heightened concerns around sexual abuse. But most abuse is closer to home and if we are to tackle this issue we must prevent it before it even starts. To do this we must educate our children about staying safe and speaking out. A quick conversation could make a big difference and that’s why the more people like x who can help us promote this very important message, the better.

Fiona said:  "It's every parent’s worst nightmare to find their child has been touched inappropriately - and no family wants to think it will ever happen to them. But as the statistics show, it does happen to one in 20 kids, and nine times out of ten by someone known to the child. So by talking about it, you are taking the first steps to keeping your children safe, don’t leave it to someone else.”.

Parents need to find a way to make their kids aware of the danger without scaring them, and that's exactly why the NSPCC is promoting the Underwear Rule. It's clear, simple and easy for even young kids to understand. Think of it as a green cross code against sexual abuse. That is why I am encouraging parents to learn the underwear rule and talk PANTS with their children.”