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Local Child Safeguarding Practice Review comment by BASW

The shocking case of Child Q highlights the reality that racism is ever present in our education, criminal justice and other systems.

Following the publication of the Local Child Safeguarding Practice Review this week into the strip search of Child Q by Metropolitan Police officers whilst on school premises, BASW writes to wholly condemn the actions of all those involved in this heinous act of physical and emotional child abuse.  We denounce the degrading, humiliating and traumatic treatment of this 15-year-old girl. 

The findings of the safeguarding report, cite racism as a factor in the unlawful strip search.  It specifically notes ‘adultification’ as a key factor, in which black children are perceived as older than they are and as a result are not afforded the protections and safeguards they would receive if they were white. 

The case of Child Q highlights the reality that racism is ever present in our education, criminal justice and other systems.  It is beyond belief that in a 21st century, post-colonial era in the UK, a child could be subjected to such treatment, likened to 16th century slave trade nuances.  This horrendous violation of Child Q’s body shows a systemic failure by many professionals who should have protected her.  As such it is only right that there are grave consequences for the local authority, school, and the Metropolitan Police. 

As an association, we express our deep empathy and stand in solidarity with Child Q and her family.  We stand together as social workers to fight institutional and structural racism whenever it occurs and work together to promote a society where equity and justice prevails.