The Lesson on Child Q

Imagine you have a 15-year-old daughter or sister who is a straight-A student in school suddenly transformed into a recluse with little interest in much of life. Battered and suffering from psychological trauma all because she was meted out with the same crazy processes too common in the systemic racism of our society.

There have been many comments on social media from black people regarding Child Q, a young girl who became the victim of systematic racism. One of her teachers alerted the Hackney Met Police when they detected the smell of cannabis on Child Q. While a mock exam was going on, four police officers showed up. She was informed that a search was to take place because they were informed, she was in possession of drugs. She denied it because she had already been searched in the morning. They took her to the medical room of the school for the search. The teachers waited outside; none of them was in the room with her.

A review has surfaced, titled the Local Child Safeguarding Practice Review conducted by City & Hackney Safeguarding Children Partnership (CHSCP). The review highlighted a lot of failings exhibited by the search. Child Q was humiliated by the invasive search on her. She was stripped and ordered to remove her used sanitary towel despite being on her menstrual period. She was made to bend over, spread her legs and use her hands to spread her buttocks cheek while coughing.

Why in the world should that have happened? Why should a place where children are to be safeguarded become a criminal profiling centre? The answer is because of the systemic racism that we are trying to address. Child Q was racially profiled due to her being black and her extra-large head of locks. Had Child Q not been Black, her experiences would not have been the way she had it.

Racism was an influencing factor in the search by the police on this young girl. If she was white, they would have been mild, and questioned her instead. The search would not have gone into her private body parts. The action of the Police was disproportionate to the incident for which they were called in. The fact that the parents of the child were not notified at any stage of this process is outrageous.

The Hackney Council responded to the review saying, “we are absolutely focused on making sure the legacy of Child Q’s experience results in change”.

The change is long in coming. Every facet of society needs the penetration of justice to eradicate racism. We see that we have more than securing HR against racism and inequality. We have to spread the force into sectors of society where the monster of racism is still chewing on the senses of people. Hopefully, we don’t become the same monster we are battling with.

Adese Okojie, CEO & Founder