NSPCC Northern Ireland is urging parents in east Antrim to protect their children from sexual abuse, after obtaining new figures which reveal a significant increase in the number of reported primary school-age victims.
Last year (2012-13) the PSNI recorded 377 child sex crimes against those under 10 – a near 20 per cent rise on the previous year’s figure of 316.
NSPCC is re-running its Underwear Rule campaign, which provides parents of children aged five-11 years with the resources to talk to them about staying safe from sexual abuse in an age appropriate way.
The campaign was hugely successful in giving parents the confidence to have an easy conversation about what many originally saw as a difficult area for discussion. Over 2.3 million people viewed the online video. However, nearly half (46 per cent) of parents still haven’t tackled the issue with their children.
Neil Anderson, regional head for NSPCC Northern Ireland, said: “Whilst some of the increase will be down to an increase in reporting due to the Savile scandal, sexual abuse continues to be a terrible scar on our society which won’t heal by itself.”
He added: “It’s a startling fact that most children are abused by someone they know, so it’s vital that we communicate to children that it’s not right for anyone to touch the places that are private to them, no matter who they are. The Underwear Rule is a vital part of this process and is already striking a chord with some parents, but we would urge more to get involved.”