The UK’s top body for child safety is using My Underpants RULE! in an evidence-based study called Keeping Safe – Developing Preventative Education in Northern Ireland. The Department of Education in Northern Ireland commissioned the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) to undertake the project after research found:
- There were significant gaps in children’s knowledge and understanding in relation to sensitive issues such as sexual abuse and domestic abuse.
- Children felt unsure about being able to tell a trusted adult about their experiences of abuse.
- Teachers are willing to teach sensitive messages but many lack the confidence to do so and identified a need for training and ongoing support in this area.
- Parents were keen for their children to be taught keeping safe messages however they were uncertain about how to communicate with their children about sensitive issues and requested training and support.
After conducting research on materials available, the NSPCC chose My Underpants RULE! as one of the resources to support the study. They will record a story-teller reading the book and display pages during class time in 40 primary schools, as well as develop lesson plans around the book’s content. Evidence will be gathered from children, school staff and parents to measure the effectiveness of the program in these 40 schools against a control group which has not received the Keeping Safe program.
Author Rod Power says “We’re excited to be working with the NSPCC. Their study is completely in line with why we developed My Underpants RULE! – we recognised the need to have engaging materials that approach the confronting subject of child protection gently and effectively. If we can have a positive impact on one child’s life it will be worthwhile.”
Teachers will begin to deliver keeping safe messages to children in 2016 with the evaluation results expected in early 2018. If the program is found to be effective, the results will inform the development and roll out of an effective preventative education program in the future so that all children in Northern Ireland. will eventually benefit from this work. For more information, you can download the project brochure here.