Working with Hollyoaks to protect children from abuse

No more secrets: Hollyoaks plotline will show how the Underwear Rule can help prevent abuse

McQueen family in Hollyoaks

If you watch Hollyoaks, you might have seen their recent 'No More Secrets' story line - a sexual abuse story centred around the McQueen family.

We've been working with Hollyoaks since the start of the year as script consultants on the story line as well as helping the actors to prepare and understand the emotions their characters are experiencing.

We held a focus group in March for the actors with young people who had experienced sexual abuse.

With mainstream shows tackling difficult topics, we hope that anyone else going through similar issues is given the confidence and reassurance to speak out and get help.


What to watch out for

Computer screen

This week's storyline will support young people who've been abused, as well as help to spread the word about our PANTs campaign, or The Underwear Rule.

In a dramatic episode that airs this week, we see characters Theresa and John-Paul explain the PANTS rule to their children, a simple conversation to help protect young children.

Through our continued work with schools, communities and shows like Hollyoaks, we really believe that the Underwear Rule can arm a young generation against abuse. Take a sneak preview in the video clip below.

Teach the Underwear Rule

A simple way that parents can help keep children safe from sexual abuse – without using scary words or even mentioning sex.

Find out how to talk PANTS

"Young people often don't realise they're being abused. Hopefully people watching this will realise that abuse is not all about strangers jumping out at you in alleyways. 90% of children who are abused, are abused by someone that they know. So it's important to get that message out there."
Zoe Lucker / Hollyoaks star

We know it's working

We launched the Underwear Rule campaign in 2013 and the fact that it's been included in such a mainstream show, demonstrates that parents all over the country are realising the importance of teaching children body ownership to keep them safe.

Not only this, but one of our practitioners from our Protect and Respect service is using the Hollyoaks storyline to help explain grooming to young people with learning difficulties.

We know that it is being used by parents across the UK, and through our continued work with schools, communities and shows like Hollyoaks, we really believe that the Underwear Rule can arm a young generation against abuse.

"I want all parents to know about the Underwear Rule. Let's get the word out!"

Read Carol's story about talking PANTS

"Hollyoaks have really showed commitment to telling this story in the most realistic way. They have kept coming back for advice and guidance on even minor script changes as they have shown real concern for wanting the story to encourage more young people to come forward when they experience abuse."
Emily Cherry / NSPCC Head of Participation

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