Like many others we read the ‘Child Q’ practice review in horror and disbelief. The report described the traumatic dehumanisation of a 15-year-old Black girl.
Many organisations have already made their statements on this ‘story’. You may wonder why we have waited until now to make ours. In truth we were angry and deeply upset. We have chosen to reflect, rather than react. We wanted to prioritise the wellbeing of our team, so they can support themselves, their colleagues and most importantly the young Londoners they work alongside.
It’s important to remember this is not a ‘story’. It’s someone’s life and needs to be treated with respect. We wanted to make sure our response wasn’t tokenistic – because it shouldn’t be. This sad case should set a precedent going forward, one where safeguarding is always at the front and centre of any approach.
At our core Safer London is a safeguarding organisation. Our reason for existing is to safeguard young Londoners. We know that sadly this is not an isolated incident and it is this systemic injustice that we see too often. We must take personal responsibility for the part we can play to bring about systemic change. We’ve had to ask ourselves how it came to this, and what can we do to ensure safeguarding of children and young people is a priority going forward.
Looking to the future…
- We will continue to challenge unacceptable behaviours where we see them occur in professional settings outside of Safer London. We will provide our team the support to challenge and call out indirect systemic racism, victim blaming and criminalisation of young Londoners appropriately and confidently.
- We will always champion safeguarding and will speak out when young Londoners are instead criminalised, subject to adultification or victim blamed.
- We will ensure that as we develop new and existing services, they are culturally competent, working with young Londoners and communities to make sure we get this right.
- We will use our influence to lobby partners and spread our messaging, to ensure that institutions are adopting a safeguarding and not criminal justice approach when working with young Londoners.
- We will continue to work to become a truly anti-racist organisation and we will support other organisations and communities to make positive change.
- We will look at whole system approaches in our work to see how we can best effect change more systemically.
- We will work alongside local authorities, schools, organisations and communities to share our knowledge of contextual safeguarding approaches, so they feel empowered to protect Londoners in the wider context of their lives.
Although this report makes for a harrowing read, we recommend professionals, institutions and organisations involved with the safeguarding of children and young people should read it. So, we can all reflect, learn and grow.
The Association of Child Protection Professionals released a response, which provides a cohesive and concise overview of the findings and recommendations. You can read the full Local Child Safeguarding
Practice Review here.