6.15 Race and Racism

Children and their families from black and minority ethnic groups are likely to have experienced harassment, racial discrimination and institutional racism. Although racism can cause Significant Harm, it is not, in itself, a category of abuse. An additional aspect for consideration is "culture", if due recognition and understanding of how this may compound a racist experience is not applied, a child or family could be subject to a service that does not account for all their needs.

The experience of racism is likely to affect how the child and family respond to and feel able to participate in the assessment and enquiry processes. Failure by professionals, workers and managers to consider the effects of racism undermines efforts to protect children from other forms of Significant Harm.

The effects of racism differ for different communities and individuals and should not be assumed to be uniform. There should also be clarity on the differences between Racism and Nationalism.

Specific attention should be given to the needs of children of mixed parentage and refugee and asylum seeking children. In addition, there should be evidence of consideration of the subtleties that may prevail with regard to religion for some Black and Ethnic Minority groups.

Particular care must be taken to ensure that neutral, high quality, gender-appropriate translation or interpretation services are used when working with children and families whose preferred language is not English.

All organisations working with children and young people within the Knowsley Safeguarding Children Board's area must address institutional racism defined in the Macpherson Inquiry Report, 2000 as

"the collective failure by an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people on account of their race, culture and /or religion."

All assessments, enquiries and meetings such as Child Protection Conferences and Core Groups must ensure that they are inclusive and respectful to all participants and address any issues of racism, culture and religion whether it concerns the child, family or any other participant.

If the relative situations cannot have the benefit of a representative professional group, then there should be clear evidence that those who make up the participants have had appropriate contemporary training which reflects their ability to cater for difference.

All staff or clinical supervision and training must consider the issues not only of institutional racism but also of the effects of racism in relation to the child and his or her family.