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Sussex parents urged by charity to talk about sexual abuse
A charity is encouraging parents to talk to their children about sexual abuse as one Sussex mum revealed the agony of discovering her daughter had been a victim.
The NSPCC has launched its ‘Underwear Rule’ campaign to help parents across the county protect their children from sexual abuse.
The scheme helps parents and carers have conversations with primary school age children about the issue.
The charity used the example of one Sussex mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, who discovered that her daughter Alexa had been abused by her cousin’s partner.
She said: “As a mumyou never think something like that is going to happen to your child. You never imagine that it’s something that you’re going to have to deal with. I was devastated and really struggled to come to terms with what it might mean for my daughter’s future.
“I had spoken to her a few years earlier when she was about eight years old about sexual abuse and where it was OK for people to touch and where it wasn’t.
“I had told her not to talk to strangers. Unfortunately I was going through some personal problems of my own around that time and don’t really remember talking to her regularly about the issues of sexual abuse.
“I didn’t really want to have to say that nice people can do bad things and that people who you really like can do bad things to you.”
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.
The Sussex mother added: “I would tell all parents to discuss good touching and bad touching with their children, no matter what age they are.
“To talk about good and bad feelings and good and bad touching is important for children to understand they can talk about their fears with a parent or someone else they trust.
“If they’re having bad feelings when someone is touching them then they’ve got to find the strength to tell someone and if you’ve already spoken to your child regularly about this, it just makes it all the more easier for them to discuss their fears with you.”
The NSPCC has developed an easyto- remember guide – Talk PANTS – that helps children understand the key points of the rule.
For more information visit nspcc.org.uk/underwearrule.
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