My Underpants Rule Child Sex Abuse Book

It's a thought that's often too horrible to bare and more often than not it's every parent's worst nightmare; that their child will be a victim of sexual abuse.

However, as scary as this scenario might be the statistics don't lie. According to the Australian Institute of Criminology one in three girls and one in seven boys will fall victim to sexual abuse before their eighteenth birthday.

Sadly, the most common age for child sexual abuse to start is when our kids are most vulnerable; between the ages of three and eight.

Part of protecting our children from this horrible reality is empowering them to understand how to protect themselves from abuse, and to know what is and isn't appropriate when it comes to their private parts.

A great way of starting this conversation with your kids is through reading, and one new book is leading the way.

Titled, "My Underpants RULE!" the book was written by ex-police officer and mother-of-three Kate Power and her husband Rod Power. The book aims to help parents navigate the tricky topic of child sexual abuse with their kids in a non-threatening and easy-to-understand way.

The book focuses on teaching children the golden underpants rule: "What's under my pants belongs only to me."

The rule is repeated and explained throughout the colourful, age-appropriate picture book to help empower young kids and protect them from being touched in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable.

The book's author, Kate Power explained to Mother & Baby that she wanted to do more than just police work to help keep children safe from sexual abuse.

"As a police offer and a mother, parents would often ask me for advice on talking to children about confronting topics, such as sexual assault, in a gentle but effective way," she said.

"As much as I enjoyed police work, I wanted to make a proactive contribution to help children live safely and happily and look after themselves in frightening situations."

The book begins by introducing kids to the topic in a light-hearted, relatable way.

It uses repetition, cartoons and lots of colour throughout the 26-page book to get it's message across to kids in a way that is fun and engaging for children.

The message in the book reiterates to kids that it's OK to make a 'big scene' if their underpants rule is ever broken.

It's author, Kate Power reminds parents that as much as we teach our children to be cautious of strangers, it's important to remember that perpetrators of child sexual abuse are typically family and friends who children know and trust. This is why discussing sexual abuse and empowering our kids to know how to protect themselves is so essential.

"If we could get every Australian child to read this book we could empower them to reduce the stigma – and incidence – of child abuse, and the devastating long-term physical and mental health consequences of this horrendous crime," Kate said.

The book has been selected by the UK's National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), and the Northern Ireland Department of Education in a landmark study designed to combat child sexual abuse.

Copies are available for purchase online at "My Underpants RULE!" for $15.99.