REPRESENTATIVE BODY FOR
BRITAIN’S BLACK CHURCH COMMUNITY ISSUES STATEMENT ON BODY SEARCH OF CHILD Q
The NCLF, the representative body for Britain’s black Christian community, joins with other concerned citizens throughout the UK, to voice their disdain, shock, and deeply felt outraged at the awful and totally unmerited treatment meted out to Child Q, a 15-year-old black schoolgirl by her school and local police where she ought to have felt safe and dealt as a minor.
It’s incomprehensible, that suspicion by a teacher of a pupil smelling of cannabis escalated from a search of her belongings to an intimate strip and internal body search by the police, and this at a time of her menstruation.
Such ‘disproportionate and harmful’ behaviour towards a minor could not possibly have been considered in the interest of the child’s wellbeing and safeguarding needs. It speaks much more to treating her as an adult criminal, wholly inappropriate considering her age and the fact that she was at school.
It’s inexcusable that the child’s request for her mother to be present was totally ignored. Unsurprisingly Child Q has been left traumatised by this unfortunate and unwarranted incident and in need of counseling, something that may scar her psychologically for the rest of her life.
The NCLF welcomes the enquiry and report that was carried out following news of the incident but want to see this deplorable situation treated with the urgency it requires.
The NCLF calls for
· those responsible from the school and the police to be suspended pending a full investigation with legal powers so that everyone responsible for this trauma is held accountable;
· the principle of pastoral care and safeguarding of minors, enshrined in national and international law, be emphasised to the education and police system;
· the law be changed if necessary so as not to permit a minor to be strip-searched unless their parents/guardians are present and agreeable, or the child is in mortal danger themselves or endangering others;
· the investigation to seek to establish what, if any part, personal and or systemic racism played in the actions of both the school and the police;
· that the child and her family be compensated for the trauma, psychological and physical abuse and damage suffered;
· steps to be taken to try and ensure that nothing of this order happens ever again to a minor.
On behalf of the Black Christian community, we offer Child Q and her family sincere prayers and support in this time of great distress. And we call upon the relevant authorities to take all immediate necessary actions to address this matter in the interest of justice for Child Q.
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