Diversity, Race & Ethnicity

Diversity Matters 
One of our local priorities from our KRSCP learning and improvement case reviews and our audit work in Kingston and Richmond, is that we pay attention to issues of diversity when working with families. 

Disability, ethnicity, class, culture and history are all important in understanding a child and family, and how they live. Without duplicating conversations, it is important that any multi-agency network understands a family's basic information and identity. This is a springboard to working effectively towards change. 

Do we know how the family fits into their culture and society?

Have they faced discrimination and prejudice?

Do we have any stereotypes as we meet them? 

Are we making assumptions regarding language, history, or ability?

If we don't ask, an opportunity is lost......maybe forever. NSPCC research from published case reviews highlights that professionals sometimes lack the knowledge and confidence to work with families from different cultures and religions. 

A lack of understanding of the religious and cultural context of families can lead to professionals overlooking situations, that may put family members at risk; whilst the desire to be culturally-sensitive can result in professionals accepting lower standards of care. ‘The learning from these reviews highlights that professionals need to take into account families’ cultural and religious context when undertaking assessments and offering support. The rights and needs of the child need to remain the focus of interventions at all times, regardless of this context.’

Find out more here:

Some key information:

  • If you’re working with a family and you know or suspect that English is not their first language, it is important to always check that what you are saying is understood;
  • It is important to establish as early as possible what language a family would prefer to speak , if you suspect comprehension issues. Once established, arrange interpretation services accordingly;
  • Be aware that you may not be fully understood by a family when making initial contact. Failure to respond or attend appointments may be the result of a lack of comprehension, rather than engagement. Follow up contacts, ideally with a home visit. 

Learning regarding culture and faith:

  • Assessment tools should be adapted to ensure cultural sensitivity based on knowledge and understanding;
  • Assessments should explore the impact of a person's culture on their life, including: spiritual practices, rites/blessings, beliefs and practices surrounding life events, dietary restrictions, personal care, daily rituals, communication, social customs and attitudes to healthcare and support.

Research and evidence suggests that Deaf and Disabled Children are more likely to be abused than nondisabled children. They are particularly vulnerable to abuse because:

  • The same protection is not offered to disabled children as it is to non-disabled children;
  • Sometimes they treated as different and not provided adequate sex education or information on their body; • In general, these children may face more isolation, physically and emotionally, and particularly from mainstream services and facilities; 
  • Some may have a lack of communication with other people; • There may be a dependency on others for their most important needs such as feeding, taking medication or their intimate care needs.

Culturally Sensitive Practice

Newham LSCB published this Serious Case Review report about Chris in August 2018 here: 

Chris, was a 14 year old boy, who identified as being of Caribbean heritage. He had a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Conduct Disorder. Chris was shot at close range in Newham and was transported to the Royal London Hospital. Chris had struggled in school and was close to exclusion, there were serious and significant incidents such as threats to self-harm with scissors and a ligature. 

Extensive support plans centred on relational, therapeutic, trauma responsive practice were in place from Chris' time at Primary School onwards, which both school staff and his family report he responded well to, and which, overall, had a positive impact on his behaviour and development. At times the family managed his risk management plan but issues arose as he moved between boroughs in London and information was not communicated. Police reports from April 2016 state that Chris was ‘associating with troublemakers’.

The officer believed that he may be a target for gangs as he was easily influenced and was associating with gang members. Chris was arrested for a serious sexual assault in July 2016, but was not charged, with no further action being taken. In July 2016, a direct referral was made by the School to the Youth Offending Team for voluntary support delivered by a Disruption offer. 

The disruption offer included targeted assessment and intervention for those at risk of youth violence, anti-social behaviour, possession with intent to supply matters and where sexually inappropriate behaviour may be a concern.

The family are reported not to have engaged in this offer of support and so the case was closed. Further reports at this time make reference to Chris using his maternal grandfather’s address to order the Rambo knife online, along with a bullet proof vest. His grandfather had mental health problems and a poor memory. From this time until his death, concerns rose further for Chris - he was reported missing by his family, he was involved in assaults, was arrested for carrying acid and a knife, drugs and stolen property.

On 4th September 2017, Chris was in Newham in a group of four young people. An unknown assailant passed by in a stolen vehicle and fired multiple shots into the crowd of young people; it is not possible to be sure if Chris was the intended victim of the attack. Chris received a bullet wound to his head and was taken to hospital but died as a result of his injuries the following day. 

Importantly, the report said "However, it is important to highlight the potential perception of assessments and interventions being culturally insensitive and contributing to mistrust in professionals".

This statement is made to draw attention to the requirement for culturally competent and anti-oppressive practice in safeguarding children from Caribbean families, as well as other Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds, and this should be noted. It is acknowledged and understood that culture, and safeguarding concerns, exist in all communities; specific reference is made to the need for cultural competency when safeguarding children of Caribbean heritage as this is how Chris, and his family, identify and during the review process they themselves made reference to some of the cultural and value differences that existed between the family and professional approaches

Best practice acknowledges, explores, reflects on, understands and responds sensitively to these differences".   

More Information here: 

AfC Anti-Racism resource: 
Please click here to view.

Kingston Race and Equalities Council

Multi-Cultural Richmond

Listen up Research- Promoting the inclusion of lesser-heard voices in child protection, research, policy and practice  

Race Equality Foundation

The Needs of Foster Children from Black and Minority Ethnic Backgrounds:

London Child Protection Procedures Working with Interpreters and Communication Facilitators

Roma Parents survival guide to Child Protection 
Using the google translate facility, this guide can be translated into to many European language. Unfortunately Google translate does not yet have the facility to translate into Romanese.