Local News

Inter Islands Talk PANTS!

Campaign celebrates success in helping keep children safe from sexual abuse

Almost 300 carers and professionals in the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland have been trained to communicate important messages to parents and children that will help prevent sexual abuse.

They have been trained as part of the Inter Islands Talk PANTS campaign, which was launched almost a year ago by the NSPCC and the Islands’ protection committees.

The NSPCC’s Talk PANTS! resources give parents, carers and professionals advice on how to have simple, age-appropriate conversations with children about sexual abuse. With the help of a colourful animated character, a friendly dinosaur called Pantosaurus, it helps children understand that their body belongs to them and to recognise when something is not okay, and how to tell someone if they are upset or worried.

As part of this campaign, the resources were translated into Scottish Gaelic and Pantosaurus toured the islands, visiting the HebCelt Festival in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, the Cunningsburgh Show in Shetland and the Orkney Agricultural Show. In Orkney, 200 children coloured in Pantosauruspants on the show day alone, and NSPCC staff and volunteers distributed thousands of parents guides and talked to families about the Talk PANTS! resources.

Mubashar Khaliq, with Emily Grieve (8) and Zelda Bradley from Orkney Rape and Sexual Assault Service

During the past year, campaign activities and events have included soft play sessions in the Western Isles run by the Rape Crisis team and the colourful and entertaining Pantosaurus music video being shown at cinemas on Orkney and in Stornoway.

Over a thousand Pantosaurus and the Power of PANTS books have been delivered to local libraries, and health visitors have handed out the paperback version to families, childminders and teachers to encourage them to read the book to as many children as possible.

The NSPCC also recently created Talk PANTS! resources in partnership with the Makaton Charity, which use symbols and signs to help communicate the messages to people with communications difficulties.

These resources will enable parents and teachers of children with a range of educational needs to share the Talk PANTS! message so they can understand the PANTS rules. Talk PANTS! resources are also available in British Sign Language and can be downloaded for free on the NSPCC website.

Many members of the islands Protection Committees have been instrumental in the campaign’s success including Police Scotland, Rape Crisis, Early Learning and Childcare in Orkney and the army cadets in Shetland to name just a few.

To thank everyone involved and celebrate the campaign’s achievements to date and its legacy, the NSPCC is hosting a virtual event on Wednesday, September 14, with fellow members of its steering group and protection committees.

Guest speaker Rachel Wallace, NSPCC Local Campaigns manager for the Midlands, in England, will explain more about the Talk PANTS! Makaton resources and participants will be shown a selection of stunning photos from NSPCC Scotland’s tour of the islands on the day, which also falls on Pantosaurus’ birthday.  

Tam Baillie, Chair of Public Protection Committees in Orkney and Shetland and the Western Isles, said:

“It has been great to see how each of the islands has embraced the PANTS campaign, working in partnership with the NSPCC. 

“The enthusiasm and inventiveness of different island approaches has brought a wide range of activities all targeted at getting simple messages across in a fun way to young children about the importance of keeping themselves safe. 

“The use of cartoons, dance and song has made it engaging with children, parents and professionals, and it has been an inspiration to be part of the joint efforts. We are all looking forward to celebrating the work done and hearing about how it will endure through ongoing legacy work.”    

Pantosaurus in Stornoway

Mubashar Khaliq, Local Campaigns Manager at the NSPCC, said:

“Each year in Scotland, Police record more than 5,000 sexual offences committed against children. We started this campaign because it’s crucial that we do all we can to help prevent abuse from happening in the first place.

Talk PANTS is about helping start difficult, but vital, conversations with children from a young age about sexual abuse and their right to be safe. We don’t talk about sex or use scary words but focus on keeping safe and rules that help children understand important messages, like their body belongs to them and they should tell an adult if they’re upset or worried.”

Gail Sayles, Local Campaigns Manager for NSPCC Scotland, said:

“It has been so wonderful to see our Talk PANTS messaging reaching people in some of the most remote parts of the UK. It was great to chat with families at the events who already knew about our campaign, either from school or their local nursery. Many of the children would sing the song at us and give Pantosaurus a high five!

“The Power of Pants book is already a firm bedtime favourite with many families, and parents told us they were so pleased to be given a copy. Everyone also valued the Gaelic resources and I felt so proud that we had been able to deliver on a need that was prized so highly. 

“This campaign has made a real difference and we hope that continues in the future too. It feels like we have lit a spark on the islands, for sure.”

Professionals and volunteers working with children and families who would like to attend this free event on Wednesday, September 14 from 3-5pm can book a place, visit: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/inter-island-pants-campaign-celebration-legacy-event-tickets-388530684737

To find out more about Talk PANTS and  access resources and tools to help keep children safe from abuse, visit www.nspcc.org.uk/keeping-children-safe/support-for-parents/pants-underwear-rule/

To watch the Pantosaurus video visit: www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lL07JOGU5o

Anyone with concerns about the welfare of a child can call the NSPCC’s free and confidential helpline on 0808 800 5000 for advice.

·Talk PANTS! resources are available in Makaton, British Sign Language and Scottish Gaelic

· NSPCC will host a virtual event on Wednesday, September 14 to celebrate the positive impact and legacy of Talk PANTS! Campaign

·  Event will coincide with Pantosaurus’ birthday.

Talk Pants Link