Children’s charity the NSPCC has officially launched its London-wide Talk PANTS campaign in Havering, Hillingdon, and Hounslow.

Talk PANTS, which features a friendly dinosaur called Pantosaurus, helps children understand in an age-appropriate way that their body belongs to them, they have the right to say no and they can speak out if anything does not feel right. 

As part of the campaign, the NSPCC will be giving out Talk PANTS resource bags to local schools across Havering. These bags were made possible by generous donations in memory of the NSPCC trustee Anita Green, and will include a lesson plan, Pantosaurus plushie, and storybook.

There will also be a Talk PANTS Week to celebrate the campaign to be held in October 2024.

A professionals launch event took place on June 5, which included speakers with lived experience of child sexual abuse, mother and daughter Miranda and Poppy.

When Poppy was 11, she told her mum that she had been sexually abused by her grandfather from a young age. This shattering disclosure changed their lives forever. Miranda and her husband David did everything to support Poppy through a lengthy court process, and they now campaign for the rights of child sexual abuse survivors.  

Poppy said: “Children and adults having a level of understanding of what it is children are sadly having to go through, can save a world of confusion and self-hate. 

“For myself, one of the biggest things I struggled with was not knowing what was happening to me and not having the words to say so. I’m not saying that children should be exposed directly to this issue but with the incredible work of PANTS, children have the ability to use emotions and simple descriptions to communicate with those they trust. 

“That first leap of faith is one that is terrifying so thanks to PANTS for helping children make that process that little bit easier by having the basic but vital tools to be heard.”

The NSPCC campaign, which celebrated its 10-year anniversary last autumn, has been running in Haringey and has also launched in Hillingdon and Hounslow.

Hayley Garner, Local Campaigns Manager for the NSPCC in London and the South East, said: 

“We are thrilled to have three new boroughs joining our London PANTS campaign, and we hope that in the future we will see a Talk PANTS Champion in every school and early years setting in participating boroughs.

“While it is never the responsibility of a child to keep themselves safe from sexual abuse, talking PANTS with the assistance of Pantosaurus can help children understand that their body belongs to them, and to recognise when something is not okay and how to tell someone.”

Tara Geere, Havering’s Director of Children’s Services, said: “The NSPCC Talk PANTS campaign has been created specifically with the help of parents and professionals, to make sure conversations about inappropriate behaviour is as easy as possible for children.”

“The campaign is important for every family in Havering and I am keen to endorse its messages. Privates are private, to Always remember your body belongs to you, ‘No' means no, Talk about secrets that upset you, Speak up - someone can help to help keep our local children safe.”

To learn more about the NSPCC’s Talk PANTS campaign and the Underwear Rule, visit the charity's website and search for ‘Talk PANTS.’

The NSPCC also operates Childline, a safe, confidential 24-hour service for children, on 0800 1111.

Published: 5 June 2024