HAMPSHIRE parents are today being urged to back a new campaign against sexual child abuse after an increase in the number of offences against primary school-aged children.

The number of sex crimes against children under 11 rose to 262 in Hampshire last year, an increase of almost ten per cent from 2012.

Meanwhile numbers are up by nearly 20 per cent nationwide with 5,547 offences recorded against the under-11s.

The NSPCC has launched the Underwear Rule campaign to help parents make young children aware of how to stay safe through easy conversations Sharon Copsey, regional head of service for NSPCC South West, said: “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.”

The figures, obtained by the NSPCC under the Freedom of Information Act, show girls are still four times more likely to be abused.

Of the 915 sex crimes recorded against children under 18 by Hampshire Police last year, 710 were girls. Ms Copsey added: “Sexual abuse continues to be a terrible scar on our society which won’t heal by itself.

“Our campaign has start- ed to make inroads in giving children the protection they need but there is obviously still a long way to go.

“The police figures are disturbing, particularly as many of the victims are so young. This highlights the urgent need to tackle this problem from an early age. And parents and carers can play an important role by ensuring their children are armed with the knowledge to recognise the wrong kind of behaviour and keep themselves safe.”

THE NSPCC has developed an easy-to-remember guide to help children understand how to protect themselves, called Talk Pants.

The advice is as follows:
P: Privates are private.
A: Always remember your body belongs to you
N: No means no
T: Talk about secrets that upset you
S: Speak up, someone can help