Background

The Victoria Climbié Foundation UK emerged from the Victoria Climbié Family Campaign; founded to support the family of Victoria Climbié in their quest to seek justice and accountability in regard to the failures, incompetency and negligence of the child protection system.

We supported Mr and Mrs Climbié during the course of the Victoria Climbié Public Inquiry.

image

With humility we offer the words of Mr and Mrs Climbié which aptly describe our role :

As outsiders, we did not understand how the system worked. With the support, assistance and advice of The Victoria Climbié Foundation UK, we came to understand what had happened to our daughter, Victoria Adjo Climbié and the role and responsibilities of the agencies involved

The Foundation’s Director, Mor Dioum, was privileged to be trusted by Francis and Berthe Climbié to run a campaign prior to the Inquiry and played a pivotal role in ensuring that firstly an inquiry took place and secondly that it was held in public.  During the Inquiry he provided emotional and specialist advice to Victoria’s parents. Moreover, he assisted the Climbié legal team in strategising and ensuring that lines of questioning led to the truth about the failings of all the agencies.  This systematic failure ultimately led to the tragic death of Victoria Climbié. Following the findings of the Inquiry, the Foundation was born at the request of Victoria’s parents who wanted an independent organisation to be committed and to campaign for the rights of children to be properly protected by those agencies entrusted to do so by law.  Furthermore, Mr and Mrs Climbié bestowed upon the Foundation the duty to monitor and speak out in regard to the practice of agencies in order to ensure that no other child is failed as appallingly as their daughter.

During 2003-2006 the Foundation was at an embryonic stage in regard to influencing policy regarding child protection.  Yet this aspect of the Foundation work was frustratingly limited due to the constrictions of funding, but nevertheless we were involved in campaigning via the media and lobbying legislators in regard to strengthening the Green Paper ‘Every Child Matters.’ This is an area of work that the Foundation was keen to develop as it is vital that child protection policy is not directed by (and wittingly or unwittingly ends up serving) the needs of agencies with statutory powers rather than the needs of children.

Our focus has primarily been led by the needs of families and children from ethnic minority communities.  The Foundation has consequently been involved in case work associated with supporting users to raise child protection awareness and challenge inaction or bad practice and thus failings to protect children.  In many such cases the Foundation has been successful in achieving change in agencies so that good practice is adhered to. The Foundation has been involved with and helped over 300 families/children each year.

After four years of the Foundation responding to grass roots needs we had reached a limit which was above our workload capacity.  There was a need to consolidate and reflect on future developments and needs of the Foundation to provide the most viable and effective services outlined in our aims.

The Foundation relied heavily on the goodwill and commitment of independent specialists who had given their time freely. The Foundation was only too aware that it urgently needed to find funding in order to maintain the input of consultants otherwise the service of such individuals would not be sustainable in the future.

We remain an independent organisation that has strengthened its capacity to respond to grass roots needs. The Foundation has begun to influence safeguarding policies and procedures, through its advisory work with statutory agencies and professional networks.We continue to campaign for the implementation of child protection reforms at operational level.

The Foundation has developed its capacity through reorganisation and restructuring, and has sought the necessary funding to continue its link work with children and families to raise child protection awareness in the context of religion or culture within the legal framework of this country. We continue to rely on the goodwill and commitment of independent specialists and volunteers to support our policy efforts and maintain our search for funding to sustain this aspect of our work. The Foundation’s strength is in its ability to engage at all levels from an independent perspective; within the community, with policy makers and service delivery professionals.

The challenge going forward is to continue the work to bridge the gap that still regrettably exists between statutory agencies, care services, BME communities, and to deliver improvements to the child protection system at operational level.

The Foundation’s core value is the adherence to the United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child. The rights guaranteed by the convention are indivisible, but those that have particularly informed the foundation’s working to safeguard children are:

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989 (UNCRC)

Article 2: rights apply to all children without discrimination
Article 3: Children and young people’s best interests are taken into account in decisions which affect them
Article 12: Children and young people must be consulted in decisions which affect them, and have their views taken into account
Article 16: Children and their families have a right to privacy
Article 19: Children must be kept safe from violence and neglect
Article 22: Children who come into a country as refugees have the same rights as children born in that country
Article 23: Children who have any kind of disability should have special care and support so that they can lead full and independent lives
Article 24: Children and young people are to have access to the best available health care and benefit from health promotion activities
Article 25: Children in care of the state must have their circumstances reviewed regularly
Article 28: Children have the right to an education
Article 29: Children have the right to an education which develops their potential
Article 39: State parties should promote the physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of a child victim of neglect, exploitation, abuse and any inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment. This will take place in an environment which fosters the health, self-respect and dignity of the child

The principal framework of anti-discrimination within which our core values operate pertains to: Advocating the rights of children to equality of access, confidentiality, a free service, empathy and a non-judgemental approach, participation of users in planning our services, an open complaints process and a holistic approach in the pursuit of championing the rights of children to be protected from abuse.