JUST under 400 sexual offences against children aged between four and eight was recorded in the space of a year in the North-East.

A Freedom of Information request from children's charity NSPCC revealed that, during the year 2018-2019, a total of 390 crimes of that nature were reported to Northumbria and Durham police forces. 

The charity requested figures from all police forces across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and showed that there were 7,618 throughout that same period.

Following the release of the figures, the NSPCC has this week relaunched its Talk PANTS campaign, which helps parents with children aged eight and under to have vital conversations about staying safe from sexual abuse.

The charity’s PANTS rules, Pantosaurus song and activity pack aims to help parents find the right words to talk to their children about staying safe. They don’t mention the words sex or abuse so it is easier for parents to tackle the sensitive subject.

Donna-Marie Wright, who is a mother-of-seven, is a passionate supporter of the NSPCC’s Talk PANTS campaign.  

She said: “I think Talk PANTS is brilliant. Having been abused myself between the ages of seven and 18, I believe it’s essential that all parents talk to their children about staying safe from sexual abuse.

“Many parents may worry that talking to their children about this sensitive subject will be scary and confusing but the PANTS activities help you find the right words. There is no mention of sex or abuse and when I’ve used them with my own young children, I’ve found the resources to be incredibly useful.”

Parents and children can visit www.nspcc.org.uk/pants to find out more about the campaign.

Peter Wanless, the chief executive of the NSPCC, said: “It is very concerning that the number of recorded sexual offences against young children is at such a high level and it is vital we do more to help them stay safe from sexual abuse.

"That is why Talk PANTS is such an important tool for parents as it enables them to have vital conversations with their child in an age appropriate way.”