Ahead of a Channel 4 documentary called ‘Things we won’t say about race that are true’, former head of the Commission for Racial Equality, Trevor Phillips, cites the murder of Victoria Climbié in 2000 as one of a number of examples of institutions failing to act for fear of offending minority groups.
VCF – The Victoria Climbié Foundation UK remains consistent in its clear message to families and communities; that no culture or faith should ever override the protection of children; a mantra that we use across the country when assisting safeguarding professionals to firstly identify, and then to respond appropriately, to child abuse linked to faith or belief.
However, we cannot continue to ignore issues of race and identity within child protection.
Mor Dioum, Co-Founder and Director of VCF and Chair of the National Working Group on Child Abuse linked to Faith or Belief believes that the debate is long overdue.
Mor, who has a long background of race relations having assisted families in some of the most high-profile cases in this country, is adamant that “the level of racism that resonates around these and the Victoria Climbie case is one we continue to encounter in child protection work.”
Within child protection, many talk of engaging with the minority community, yet few are genuinely addressing race and identity, at least not openly nor in a way that is meaningful to individual professionals or to families involved with children’s services.
At VCF, we advise and support families whose children have been removed, often because of misunderstanding of culture, faith or language; in addition to poverty, housing, or immigration – all factors that lead to serious levels of destitution and ultimately to what we see as neglect cases.