Statistics drawn from Unicef, International Labour Organisation and the World Health Organisation indicate that one in five children in Europe are victims of a form of sexual abuse. It has been also estimated that in 70-85% of circumstances the abuser is a person that the child knows and feels they can trust. With its ONE in FIVE campaign the Council of Europe aims to stop sexual violence against children. One strand of the ONE in FIVE campaign is called The Underwear Rule.
This simple and clear rule is aimed to help parents and carers talk to children about staying safe from sexual abuse. When discussions surrounding the topic of sexual abuse can seem difficult to approach this simple rule helps to explain to a child that their body is their body and they should always seek support and help from an adult if they ever feel intimidated, confused or distressed. The Underwear Rule video can be watched here. There are currently 14 national Underwear Rule campaigns in 14 European countries (EU and non-EU).
The NSPCC reports Child abuse and neglect today in the United Kingdomand How safe are our children?reveal that an 200,000 children are in need due to abuse and neglect in 2011-2012 and in the same time period there were 29,305 recorded sexual acts and cruelty offences against children. The latter report draws together to most current and robust data regarding child protection and states that 1 in 5 children in the UK today have experienced severe physical abuse, sexual abuse or physical or emotional mistreatment. With these statistics in mind the NSPCC have initiated its Underwear Rule campaign.