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The Underwear Rule guide recommended by parents

YouGov survey reveals parents feel more confident talking to their children about keeping safe

The Underwear Rule is helping parents feel more confident and better prepared in talking to their children about keeping safe from sexual abuse.

81% of parents who saw the
Underwear Rule felt confident in speaking to their child, a significant increase from those who did not see the campaign, according to a YouGov survey.(1)



Listen: mum Gillian recommends the Underwear Rule

Gillian, pictured above with 5 year old son Aidan, praises the Underwear Rule for being child-friendly and helping parents have difficult conversations.


Underwear Rule guide gives parents better understanding of what to say

Here's what some parents from across the UK have told us about using the Underwear Rule to help them keep their children safe from abuse.

Angela, a mother from Preston:
"My son has already starting asking questions about what abuse is and I often find it quite hard to talk about what are difficult issues. The Underwear Rule campaign and materials...are really helpful for me as a parent in knowing how to talk to my son about these issues in a simple and age appropriate way."

Lynne from Dunblane, a mother of nine and ten year old sons:
"You do worry about something happening to your children, in the same way you worry that they could get knocked down in the road...I definitely feel more confident about knowing where to start the conversation. Keeping safe from sexual abuse now feels just as easy to speak about with my children as stranger danger."

Helping parents find the right words

Parents have also said that they found the PANTS guide was simple, easy to use and helped them find the right words to explain the Underwear Rule to their child.

90% of parents who saw the campaign felt that they knew what to say to their children to help keep them safe.(1)


Mother of 2 and childcare worker Sabrina from Carmarthenshire said:
"Abuse is a subject we all shy away from talking about as we don't know how to approach the subject with young children. The Underwear Rule guide is easy to read, not too long winded and gives us an understanding of how to approach our children and tips on how to answer their questions."

Claire, a mother and social worker from Swansea, said:
"I have two daughters and when I watch the news I really fear for them. But I worry about spoiling their innocence; frightening them and making them feel they can't be normal around people and that I might say the wrong thing or that they will start to ask questions I can't or don't want to answer.

"I am going to start talking PANTS to my girls...It's much better to talk to our kids about how they can be safe, and now I have got some help to do it well."

Sarah's story: "My parents never spoke to me about sexual abuse; I didn't know what was happening"

Parents play an important role in having these conversations about keeping safe from abuse.

At just 8 years old, Sarah was sexually abused by a member of her extended family. In her own words, she describes the impact of not understanding or being able to tell someone what was happening to her:

"My dad had employed a young man from our extended family who also came to live with us. Whenever he had the opportunity, which was quite often, he would touch me and kiss me.

"I didn't understand that what was happening to me was sexual abuse. My parents had never spoken to me about sexual abuse or which parts of my body were private and shouldn't be touched by adults. I didn't know that what was happening to me was wrong; I just knew I didn't like it.

"He told me not to tell anyone, that it was only between me and him and that my parents would be very angry if they found out. It continued for three months, until he left suddenly. I felt I couldn't tell anyone and I was so alone and sad.

"The abuse affected everything in my life. It really altered my relationships with men around me, including my father and my piano teacher, which was very sad. I wouldn't let my dad hug or kiss me.

"As a teenager I suffered from clinical depression, and I used to comfort eat a lot. At times I was suicidal.

"When I was 17years old I finally found the courage to tell a high school counsellor. He was fantastic and really listened to me.

"I was referred for counselling and, although it still took a long time to talk about what happened with the counsellor, I gradually came to terms with what happened to me.

"I can now let my father hug me and I have a very normal life. I am no longer afraid to be alone in a room with a man, but it took me a lot of work to get to this stage."

Teach your child the Underwear Rule

Stories like Sarah's demonstrate that simple conversations really can help keep children safe from sexual abuse.

Talking to your children doesn't have to be scary or mention sex, and
our child-friendly PANTS guide and
talking tips can help make having the conversation easier.

Find out how to teach your child the Underwear Rule

Tell us what you think of the Underwear Rule

If you have used the Underwear Rule to talk to your children about keeping safe, tell us about your experience on our Facebook page.


  1. Sample of parents of 5-11 year olds who saw or heard the campaign advertising or materials: 500 parents prior to campaign launch week commencing 24th June 2013 and 751 parents during the campaign from 30th July - 13th August 2013. Figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK parents of 5 to 11 year old children.

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