A PROJECT tackling child sexual abuse has been given a boost ensuring it can continue its good work for a few more months.

The Dorset Tackling Child Sexual Abuse Project, which includes the NSPCC’s popular PANTS campaign, has been granted a significant extension of funding to the tune of £23,339 by the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC).

As part of a year-long project, Dorset Safeguarding Children Board and Bournemouth & Poole Local Safeguarding Children Board have been focussed on raising awareness of, and improving responses to, child sexual abuse (CSA).

It has sought to improve the confidence and capacity of the multi-agency workforce to respond to disclosures and provide effective support to children, young people and their families. The project has included work on developing data to better understand the scope and nature of CSA locally and services available to support victims.

It has partnered with the NSPCC to raise awareness and safeguard children, using the PANTS resources and messaging developed and promoted by the children’s charity nationally.

PANTS is a simple and fun way to ensure parents and professionals have important conversations with children about their bodies in an age-appropriate way.

It features Pantosaurus, an animated dinosaur, which helps parents with children aged eight and under to have important, age-appropriate, conversations about staying safe from sexual abuse, teaching children important messages, such as their “privates” are private.

Funding for the project was initially granted by the PCC in January 2018. The additional funding agreed last month will fund work on the preliminary recommendations and findings from the project so far. These include:

  • Training sessions
  • Additional free CSA briefing sessions for practitioners and others
  • Further work on data and recording to understand and monitor the nature and scope of CSA cases
  • Investment in a Pantosaurus suit which can be used by schools

The project will run until the end of March 2019.

Martyn Underhill, Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset, said: “This work is going to help us have a better understanding of the extent of the problem across the county, as well as providing a wider group of people with the knowledge of what to look out for and how to support young people and their families.

“Understanding how to talk to young children about the dangers posed by sexual abuse is something that many parents and carers struggle with, and the Pantosaurus campaign is a helpful way of opening up conversations and giving young people important messages about staying safe.”