1.5.11 Racial or Religious Harassment
Children and families from black or minority ethnic groups (both white and black skinned) may have experienced harassment, racial and / or religious discrimination and institutional racism.
Families may suffer religious and/or racial harassment sufficient in frequency and seriousness to undermine parenting capacity. In responding to concerns about children in the family, full account needs to be taken of this context and every reasonable effort made to end the harassment.
Effects of racism / religious harassment vary amongst communities and individuals, and should not be assumed to be uniform.
Experience of racism and religious harassment is likely to affect how a child and family behave, in particular in response to assessment and enquiry processes.
It is vital that neutral, high quality, gender-appropriate translation or interpretation services are used when working with children and families whose preferred language is not English (see Interpreters, Signers and Others with Special Communication Skills Procedure).
All professionals have a responsibility to recognise racial and religious harassment. Failure to protect a child from racism or religious harassment (whether it originates from within or outside of the family) or take action when racism or religious harassment is being alleged is likely to undermine all other efforts being made to safeguard or promote the welfare of the child.
Racism and racial harassment may involve an allegation of crime e.g. assault and harassment and should be reported to the police at the earliest opportunity.
Racism and racial harassment should be referred to Children's Social Care when Significant Harm is suspected.
Children's Social Care and the police must respond effectively when incidents of racial or religious harassment and attacks place a child at risk of significant harm. Where a child has been racially victimised by social housing tenants, the council / responsible housing association must take all legal steps to remove the perpetrators, rather than the victims (unless the victim wishes to be moved).
Care must be taken to avoid perpetuating racism through institutional use of discriminatory practices. Any enquiries or investigations should be handled sensitively, taking account of possible cultural issues in relation to gender and sexuality. For example, consideration should be given to the gender of the social worker and police officer taking account of the cause for concern, the cultural background of the child, their gender and any other relevant issues.