Child protection: the blind spot

Progressive and responsive professional engagement with young people can be a matter of life and death.

A recent report from the NSPCC revealed that some cases of domestic violence and abuse have been quietly overlooked by police officers, education officers and social workers because they haven’t felt qualified to deal with black and minority ethnic victims. Rather than risk taking the wrong action they instead take no action, hiding behind the cloak of political correctness or ‘respect’ for cultural differences.

So to achieve fairer outcomes for different groups, it’s vital that we find an appropriate balance between respecting cultural practice and protecting values that are central to the delivery of an effective service.

Our work in this area aims to help a range of professionals determine whether different decision- making factors apply with regard to the child care and welfare of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Fundamental to this is providing clarity on the degree to which culture, identity, and belief should play a part in professional judgements.

The problems we’re solving

  • giving professionals working with young people the skills, confidence, and understanding to navigate cultural and religious sensitivities, and challenge discriminatory behaviour wherever and whenever it arises
  • creating professional engagement standards that help individuals make considered decisions based on relevant and meaningful factors

What we’re doing
Since 2008 we’ve worked with thousands of professionals in children’s centres, providing them with a framework to make and explain decisions on equality issues. Training has focused on managing competing demands to meet the ‘cultural needs’ of children and young people.

See for yourself

Download iconChildProtectionBMECommunities (444.06kB)

What other people are saying
The National Council for Voluntary Youth Services ran a feature on our work helping professionals navigate the complexities of providing services within diverse communities. To read the article, click here.

Guidance on these issues is currently patchy, especially in relation to social work. Listen to brap CEO Joy Warmington discuss the implications of this here.