Keeping deaf children safe from sexual abuse

nspcc underwear rule logo

The NSPCC launched a video version of its successful Underwear Rule guidance this month to help keep deaf children safe from sexual abuse.

The new seven-minute film was launched to coincide with Deaf Awareness Week. It was based on the Underwear Rule, a simple way that parents can help keep children safe from sexual abuse – without using scary words or even mentioning sex. You can watch the video here.

Watch the video here: 

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Over 8,000 adults contacted the NSPCC helpline last year (2013/14) with concerns about children and sexual abuse. Disabled children are particularly at risk – research shows these children are three times more vulnerable to abuse.**

The new film, which is in BSL 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 guidance is designed to allow children to understand that their privates are private and to remember that their body belongs to them.

Produced by Liverpool Street Productions , the film was directed by award-winning Deaf film-maker Bim Ajadi, with the script written by deaf journalist and scriptwriter, Charlie Swinbourne.

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.

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 BSL is a great way of communicating information to Deaf audiences.

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.

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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: “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.

“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.”

Background information about the Underwear Rule campaign found at:

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 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 our SignVideo Service at by texting 88858 emailing or calling 0808 800 5000.