The NSPCC is launching a video version of its successful Underwear Rule guidance today to help keep deaf children safe from sexual abuse. SignVideo supports this campaign and provides the service which enables abuse to be reported by deaf BSL using children and adults alike.
The new seven minute film is being launched to coincide with Deaf Awareness Week (May 6-12) and has been produced by specialist production company Liverpool Street Productions and award-winning Deaf film-maker Bim Ajadi.
Research indicates deaf and disabled children are three times more vulnerable to abuse* and last year (2013/14) over 8000 people contacted the NSPCC Helpline about sexual abuse**. Because of this, the new film, which is in British Sign Language and includes subtitles, aims to teach deaf children about the Underwear Rule and encourages them to share secrets that upset them with a trusted adult.
The successful campaign is designed to allow parents to start easy conversations with their children without having to mention scary words like sex or abuse. It teaches them that their privates are private and that their body belongs to them.
The video’s script was written by renowned deaf journalist and scriptwriter Charlie Swinbourne and the film features two scenarios; The first is of a boy aged 10 who is taught the Underwear Rule by his mum. He is later seen being asked by his neighbour, a teenage girl, to take part in a film she is filming on her mobile phone and she asks him to pull down his trousers. The boy remembers the Underwear Rule and says no – he is later seen telling his mum what has happened.
The second is a young girl aged seven who is taken to a deaf club by her dad. Later on a youth worker asks to see her bottom and says it will be their little secret. The girl says no and remembers the Underwear Rule – she then tells her dad what has happened.
The guide is already helping the police catch perpetrators – last year Ron Wood, 60, of Chaddesden, was jailed for eight years after being found guilty of four counts of sexually assaulting a three year-old girl. The girl’s mother reported Wood to the police after she taught her daughter the Underwear Rule and the young girl told her about the abuse.
Jon Brown, Head of the NSPCC’s Strategy and Development for Sexual Abuse programmes said:
“It is vital we ensure all children especially those who may be more vulnerable to sexual abuse learn how to recognise right from wrong behaviour.
“Research indicates that deaf children are more vulnerable to abuse due to communication barriers and we need to make sure they know the areas of their bodies that are private and where they can seek help if they need to. This is exactly why we are launching an Underwear Rule video for deaf children – which includes British Sign Language and subtitles.
“Our Underwear Rule campaign is already proving successful – 400,000 more parents have now had conversations with their children about keeping safe from abuse and it is even helping to catch sex offenders – which is why it is so important all children have access to it.”
Deaf film maker Bim Ajadi, who directed the film said:
“As a father myself, I know how important it is to find different ways of explaining such important messages to your children. And as a Deaf film-maker, I’m very aware that producing films in British Sign Language is a great way of communicating information to Deaf audiences.
“We wanted to use drama as a way to bring families together, showing parents explaining and reinforcing messages. We hope that the film is supportive and not scary, so that children can respond in a way appropriate to their age and understanding.”
Notes to Editors
* Frequently quoted studies including Sullivan and Knutson (2000) have found that disabled children were 3.4 times more likely to be abused or neglected than non-disabled children.
** Over 60,000 people contacted the NSPCC helpline in 2013/14 about abuse and neglect. Out of these 60,000 contacts over 8,000 were about sexual abuse.
The new film can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvD74L86Mr8
Background information about the Underwear Rule campaign can be found at: www.nspcc.org.uk/conversations.
If you think a child is worried after watching this video then please encourage them to contact ChildLine by emailing or using online chat at childline.org/Talk or by calling 0800 1111
If you’re an adult with a concern about a child or you would like advice please contact the NSPCC for free through the SignVideo Service at https://nspcc.signvideo.co.uk by texting 88858, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 0808 800 5000
For press enquiries contact the NSPCC:
Out of hours: 07976 206 625