The Guardian is reporting that a shadow Home Office minister has said children should be taught how to keep themselves safe from sexual abuse from the age of four or five, with compulsory lessons in their first year of primary school.
Sarah Champion, a leading campaigner against sexual exploitation in her Rotherham constituency, said teaching children how to protect themselves from predators was the most important way of preventing abuse.
The Labour MP made the proposal as she launched a new website called Dare2Care, which aims to provide advice on stopping child abuse and recognising the signs.
Champion said she wanted to persuade the government that there should be compulsory primary education about the “underwear rule”, devised by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC).
This tells children to remember the mnemonic “pants” in which P stands for ”privates are private”, A for “always remember your body belongs to you”, N for “no means no”, T for “talk about secrets that upset them” and S for “speak up because someone can help”.
Champion said: “With even the best legislation we put in place you cannot protect a child 24/7, whereas from a very young age, I would advocate as soon as they go to school, if you teach young children about respect and boundaries they can understand that.
“You are not teaching them about sex. It is teaching children what’s in their pants is private to them and if anyone tells you otherwise, you need to tell someone about it…”
To those who think the start of primary school is too young, she said: “I think there have now been four chairs of parliamentary committees asking the government to make relationship education rather than just the biology of sex education statutory. The pressure is on them enormously…”
…Before children reach primary school age, Champion also wants to teach their parents to spot the signs of abuse, given that two-thirds happens within the family…
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