Leeds City Council and NSPCC using parks and dinosaurs to encourage children to talk about abuse
Dinosaurs are popping up at parks across Leeds as part of a campaign to encourage children to speak up about abuse.
The NSPCC has created PANTS with the help of parents and professionals to make tricky conversations as easy and appropriate as possible for young children.
The campaign uses cuddly dinosaur mascot Pantosaurus, with his short catchy music video and fun activity packs, to help children across the UK understand how they can speak out about anything that happens that makes them uncomfortable, and gives them the confidence to do that.
In his latest adventure in Bramley Park, Pantosaurus came face to face with the a Tyrannosaurus Rex, a Pterodactyls and other prehistoric creatures.
There are more than 80 of the beasts currently roaming parks in Leeds and to promote the campaign and the city's outdoor spaces and how people can enjoy them, Leeds City Council has launched the Love Exploring App.
Utilising augmented reality, the app bring parks and locations across the city alive, populating them with interactive dinosaurs and walking trails and the idea is that difficult conversations around abuse can take place in fun, every day settings.
Coun Fiona Venner, Leeds City Council’s Executive Member for Children and Families who accompanied Pantosaurus on his special trip to Bramley Falls Park said: “Leeds City Council is committed to protecting children in our city and it’s important that parents, carers and professionals feel confident in educating children about messages that can help them stay safe from abuse.
“It can be difficult to speak about an issue like this with young children, so the PANTS rule is a great way to discuss it in a fun way that they can understand and that’s why we are getting behind this fantastic NSPCC campaign – alongside our parks’ dinosaur residents."
Helen Westerman, head of local campaigns for the NSPCC added: “Talking PANTS is as simple as teaching your child how to cross the road. We all want to keep our children safe and you’ve probably already talked to them about things like crossing the road safely. But have you spoken to them about how to stay safe from sexual abuse? We know it’s a conversation no parent wants to have, but we believe it can feel just as natural, and be just as easy, as the road safety chat.”