Child Q Update Report
Last year, you may have heard about the extremely distressing ‘Child Q’ report.
Child Q was a Black 15-year-old girl who was stripsearched in her school by police officers.
An investigation said this should not have happened and that she should never have been treated in such a humiliating and dehumanising way. That she was not protected by the adults who were meant to look after her. And that this all likely occurred because she was ‘adultified’ by the police officers and school staff who were meant to keep her safe – adultification is a type of racism whereby Black children are treated more harshly or more grown-up than their white peers.
In the last year, lots of work has been taking place to try to ensure that this never happens again; that children are kept safe; and that organisations – such as the police, schools, health services and the council – are making changes to tackle racism.
All of this work has recently been looked at by the same people who undertook the original investigation into Child Q in order to find out how much progress has been made.
This has been made into a report which was published last week.
In light of the racism young people of Black and Global Majority ethnicities experience, the report reminds us and all organisations of our responsibilities to keep you safe. You have the right to be kept safe by adults. This is called a ‘safeguarding first’ approach.
We must always actively do this and make sure we never get complacent – this means feeling so satisfied with your own abilities or situation that you feel you do not need to try.
The report also says there are good examples of important anti-racism work in schools and in health settings over the past year.
The police have issued an apology for what happened to Child Q and have accepted they need to take a more child-centred approach to policing.
The report also said the council was doing a good job at leading anti-racism work, working closely with organisations such as schools and the police. But we are at the beginning of the journey and people in Hackney do not see the difference yet.
The report finishes by saying that while there has been lots happening, there is still much, much more to do to make sure that Black children (and their families) are no longer subjected to racism.
If you would like to read the report for yourself, this can be found here.
The people who wrote the report also spoke to lots of children and young people, as well as their parents, to find out, firsthand, what they feel and face when dealing with organisations and authorities.
Lots of people said they did not trust the authorities (people in positions of power). While some secondary-age children shared experiences of racism and concerns about harsh discipline levels in their schools. Some children also said they weren’t being treated fairly by their schools.
Hackney Council has heard what children and parents are telling us in that report. And we have committed to leading the work with schools, health and policing to work together to make real and lasting change – with the ultimate aim of dismantling racism.
We will be talking to you, your parents/carers and teachers to find out how we can continue to do this. This won’t be easy. But we will keep going, no matter how long it takes.
And we at Young Hackney will continue to challenge ourselves and those we work with to be a driving force of meaningful change for young people.
If you have been impacted by the subjects covered in the report and would like Young Hackney support, please contact the Early Help Hub at 020 8356 5500 or email MASH@hackney.gov.uk.
We will provide a space for you to talk and be heard, and if you need further support, we can put you in touch with someone who can help.
Kooth has no referrals or waiting lists and young people can access it anonymously. It’s open 365 days a year from noon to 10pm weekdays and from 6 to 10pm on Saturday and Sundays.
Alternatively, you can text Shout, a 24/7 UK crisis text service available for times when people feel they need immediate support. Text the word ‘SHOUT’ to ‘85258’ and you will be put in touch with a trained Crisis Volunteer (CV).
If you’re over 18, you can access Talk Changes. Talk Changes helps people aged 18+ with a wide range of worries, common mental health problems and emotional difficulties. They provide therapy and employment support to those who are registered with a GP in City and Hackney, or registered with an online GP service and living in the area.