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The Underwear Rule campaign

Parents and carers can have simple conversations to help keep children safe from sexual abuse

We believe that everyone has a role to play to help prevent the sexual abuse of children and are encouraging parents and carers to teach their children
the Underwear Rule to help them stay safe.

New NSPCC data shows there has been a 16% rise in reports to police involving the sexual abuse of children under 11.

It's not an easy subject to talk about, but the Underwear Rule helps parents have simple conversations with their children without using scary words or mentioning sex.

Watch our campaign video 'Private Parts'

Children must be protected from sexual abuse

There have been a number of stories in the media recently about child sexual abuse in previous decades. But sadly it's not a thing of the past.

We know that:

  • 1 in 5 of all recorded sexual offences against children involve under-11s
  • 1 in 3 children who were sexually abused by an adult did not tell anyone else at the time
  • 9 out of 10 children knew their abuser.

So while conversations about "stranger danger" are important, they are not enough to keep children safe.

We believe that parents and carers can help their children stay safe by teaching them the Underwear Rule.

Simple conversations can help keep children safe

In support of the Council of
Europe's One in Five campaign,
The Underwear Rule is a simple way for parents to explain to primary school aged children that:

  • their body belongs to them
  • they have a right to say no, and
  • they should always tell an adult if they're upset or worried.


Parents often tell us they find it difficult to talk about these issues, so we've worked with them to create an easy-to-remember guide Talk PANTS and other tips and advice to help parents explain and children understand the key points of the Underwear Rule.


Learn the Underwear Rule



Netmums support Underwear Rule campaign

"I'd recommend it, especially for little ones from 4 upwards. It's perfect to teach them what's ok and what's not" - a Netmum.

Netmums support the Underwear Rule as a useful guide to help parents talk to their children about being safe without scaring them.

Read more on the Netmums website



Parents recommend the Underwear Rule guide

A YouGov survey and stories from parents across the UK reveal that the Underwear Rule is helping them feel more confident and better prepared in talking to their children about keeping safe from sexual abuse.


Find out what parents say about the Underwear Rule



Real life: Underwear Rule campaign helps reveal abuse

Mum Rachel talked to her 3-year-old daughter Hannah about how to keep safe after seeing the Underwear Rule campaign. She was shocked when Hannah revealed she had been abused by a family friend.


Read Rachel, Mark and Hannah's story



CEO Peter Wanless: "it's a small conversation but one that can make a big difference"

NSPCC's CEO Peter Wanless writes that the hard conversations that parents need to have with children are not as difficult as they think.


Read Peter Wanless' article on the Huffington post




Listen: The Underwear Rule campaign radio ads



Learn the Underwear Rule

Simple conversations can help keep children safe from abuse. Talk PANTS and you've got it covered.

Find out more

boy looking whistfully out of bedroom window

Information for professionals

Read about our research, statistics, policy and guidance on child sexual abuse.

Find out more

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