Teach about sex abuse from start of primary school, says shadow minister

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…

More at: Teach about sex abuse from start of primary school, says shadow minister


See also: Gaps in sex education leave pupils at risk, campaigners warn


Do you agree with Sarah Champion on this? Please let us know why/why not in the comments or via Twitter…


Should primary school children be taught about sexual abuse?

Are you a trainee teacher, NQT, teacher, headteacher, parent or  just someone who cares about education and has something to get off  your chest in a Schools Improvement Guest Post? Follow this link for more details at the bottom of the page.

Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin (around 7am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link.

We now have a Facebook page - please click to like!


Gaps in sex education leave pupils at risk, campaigners warn
Thousands more pupils evacuated as four schools closed after bomb threats
Categories: Parenting, Policy, Primary and Safeguarding.


  1. BehaviourA

    Misleading question – we do not necessarily need to teach young children about ‘sexual abuse’ but we very definitely need to teach them about appropriate touch and keeping safe. It HAS to be in school because most abuse is carried out by family members, people known to the child and so may not be addressed at home.

Let us know what you think...