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to think that more attention should be given to abused children who are from ethinc minorities!

(24 Posts)
welshone51 Sun 16-Aug-09 18:05:32

Hi I appreciate this this maybe a controversial subject particularly following the coverage of little baby P's case but a part of me is concerned that children who have suffered serious and often deadly abuse but dont fit into the white blonde haired blue eyed mould often get considerably less attention.
My heart breaks for little baby P who is a similar age to my son and shares a resembulance to him but there have recently been cases of severe abuse some resulting in death of children who are from ethnic minorities or are girls which havent been given many headlines at all. I am not trying to be controversial here or to cause problems but this has been something on my mind for a while.
I am not taking anything away from baby P who suffered terribly at the hands of the monsters who should have cared for him but I feel that all children are equal yet it doesnt seem like that when some severe and tragic cases of abuse are reduced to a few lines of a tabloid.
What are your opinion on this? Could it be that for a lot of us cases like Baby Peters brings abuse to home because he shares a passing resembulance to our children or am I totally wrong and do you think all cases of child abuse are treated equally by the press and powers that be!

chegirl Sun 16-Aug-09 18:59:07

This is a complex subject. Yes I think that photogenic and often white children get more media attention (unless the tabloids are trawling for any story to back up their 'all social workers are twats' stance).

I do not believe that children from minorities get less attention from the system though.

Sometimes the opposite is true. I hope that things have changed a lot in recent years but historically there has been a problem with professionals bringing their own cultural values into practice. For e.g. it may raise red flags that a young baby lives in a house were multiple adults have access to the child and the child appears to be handed from person to person. In some cultures this would be seen as normal and healthy, in others this would be seen as disruptive and neglectful.

Research in the 50s (?) concluded that West Indian mothers were so dreadful that all West Indian children would be better off in care shock

The Victoria Climbe case showed the opposite end of the spectrum. It was assumed that the 'master and slave' relationship between Victoria and her 'aunt' was perfectly normal and healthy in African families hmm

These ideas will inevitably trickle down and end up in the DM (they love a good SW story).

So YANBU when it comes to the media but YABU when it comes to real life social workers.

I could write and essay on social services and minority families (including those with disabilities) but it would be long and boring smile

famishedass Sun 16-Aug-09 19:02:26

YAButterlyU. ALL abused children should get the attention they need.

Jujubean77 Sun 16-Aug-09 19:08:34

Why more attention to ethnic families? Surely abused children should all be equally "high profile"

Jazzicatz Sun 16-Aug-09 19:16:33

There is research to suggest that the media are more likely to highlight cases where the child 'fits' a particular image, which includes socio-economic status, gender as well as ethnicity!

SmallScrewCap Sun 16-Aug-09 19:20:23

Press are definitely skewed, but then child protection is not top of their priority list (however worthy their claims).

If by "powers that be" you mean police/social services, ethnicity has little to do with where efforts are focussed IME.

sherazade Sun 16-Aug-09 19:50:05

i doubt the op was saying ethnic minority children should get more attention than white children, but *more attention than they are currently getting*

welshone51 Sun 16-Aug-09 19:55:21

I dont mean that certain children should get more attention- I have stated that all children should be treated equally. At no point have I said that I want children from ethnic minorities to get more attention than white children. It just seems to me that blonde haired blue eyed children get more media publicity- How is saying this being utterly unreasonable?

welshone51 Sun 16-Aug-09 19:58:04

And by powers that be I mean the people that put these stories in the newspaper ad who researches them not social workers sorry if I didnt make this clear.

stuffitlllama Sun 16-Aug-09 19:58:42

It's not about media attention, as chegirl says. Media attention comes too late for the child, and it's a waste of energy getting worked up about media attention when there is so much else going wrong.

But if you are talking about media attention, I don't know how you can say whether or not it is true. Which high profile cases do you mean? Have you been counting heads?

I think there's been a cultural shift in policy: that is, unacceptable practices previously deemed "cultural" are less likely to be tolerated. Again, as chegirl, says.

kathyis6incheshigh Sun 16-Aug-09 19:59:37

Chegirl that was a really interesting post smile

wahwah Sun 16-Aug-09 20:06:28

I think Yanbu in expecting the media to value the lives of all children equally. Neither are all parents valued. Even on mumsnet we have people arguing that social workers should give the nice middle class parents more support when their children are being harmed, yet snatch the offspring of all 'junkies'.

HaggisNeepsnTatties Sun 16-Aug-09 20:10:29

From what I gather social workers are so over-worked and under resourced its a flipping hard job....no excuses for negligence though........I'm not aware of SS 'snatching' kids off 'junkies' though...hmm

I think the media is to blame, they decide what to print, and certainly the 2 i remember well are victoria and baby peter, and one is a white boy and one a black girl, and both are well known.
Certainly sw have the extra struggle with weighing cutural norms against nelgect/abuse.

choufleur Sun 16-Aug-09 20:18:31

it's not just blonde - blue haired children (victoria climblie ring any bells?) but i do agree that some children get a disproportionate amount of media coverage.

Some of it is just to do with when a story breaks though and how much hysteria then surrounds the case (i don't mean we shouldn't be angry that these things happen but we perpetuate stories but discussing them on sites such as these, writing into newspapers etc).

choufleur Sun 16-Aug-09 20:19:57

there are also barriers for professionals working with some minority groups. some behaviours are culturally acceptable but not within the law or accepted behaviours in the UK.

MamazontheDailyMailtakingadump Sun 16-Aug-09 20:20:20

what an utterly ridiculous thing to say.

ALL cases of abuse are dealt with by the professionals in the exact same way.
we don't go to work and see a childs surname is patel so we put it to the bottom of the pile!

And seeing as the news coverage of Victoria Climbie was just as wide covering as that of baby P i really don'#t understand where you are going with this.

There are cases of abuse that are a lot more severe than those shown in the news every day. it just happens to be that the ones that make the news are the ones that make the news its very much dependant upon the journalist finding out the information needed at the right time.

media coverage does not equate to professional intervention.

MANATEEequineOHARA Sun 16-Aug-09 20:27:49

I think this is probably a media thing rather than social work. But as Chegirl said, culture factors into social workers positions on cases, so perhaps the OP has a point, but it is more complicated than simply 'ethnic minorities' get less attention.

tethersend Sun 16-Aug-09 21:21:05

I think the OP was just talking about media coverage, rather than allocating resources; and I think she has a point. I think a combination of media trepidation to stigmatise ethnic minorities, and the reporting of stories & images guaranteed to sell papers etc. has the effect of tipping the balance. A young Muslim girl was recently deliberately starved to death in Birmingham; this received very little coverage in the media. I think there is also a class issue; there are certainly more publicised stories about child abuse in working class homes, as if nothing bad ever happens in richer families... Having said that, I think it is a good thing that child abuse is being reported at all, and that the culture of secrecy-behind-closed-doors is being challenged. I just hope it doesn't turn into a witch hunt for social workers who witness with things too appalling to print in newspapers on a daily basis for a paltry wage.

tethersend Sun 16-Aug-09 21:22:12

I think the OP was just talking about media coverage, rather than allocating resources; and I think she has a point. I think a combination of media trepidation to stigmatise ethnic minorities, and the reporting of stories & images guaranteed to sell papers etc. has the effect of tipping the balance. A young Muslim girl was recently deliberately starved to death in Birmingham; this received very little coverage in the media. I think there is also a class issue; there are certainly more publicised stories about child abuse in working class homes, as if nothing bad ever happens in richer families... Having said that, I think it is a good thing that child abuse is being reported at all, and that the culture of secrecy-behind-closed-doors is being challenged. I just hope it doesn't turn into a witch hunt for social workers who witness things too appalling to print in newspapers on a daily basis for a paltry wage.

chegirl Sun 16-Aug-09 21:38:31

I dont think the OP is being 'utterly' ridiculous at all! I do not think it is a simple issue either though.

I have worked with lots of families and been on the fringes of lots of cases. I have also been deeply involved on a personal level. The thing to remember is that social work professionals are all human beings and they all bring their own experiences, values and prejudices into their practice to some extent. It would be impossible not to. There are social workers that believe that to have a disabled parent is to be a neglected child and those that belive that being a disabled parent makes you a better parent (and all points inbetween).

There are social workers that have very little knowledge of cultural practices and those that think they know it all. The vast majority are ordinary people who are doing their very best in an incredibly complicated and prescriptive system.

I do not think institutional racism can be dismissed so readily. Like it or not it runs very deep. That is not to say it is inevitable but it is there.

I do not believe that BNP members suddenly go all soft hearted when presented with a little black boy beaten to feck by his mother ethier. Black people are inferior subspecies to them, to belive anything else is to be somewhat deluded.

stuffitlllama Mon 17-Aug-09 03:55:37

chegirl, are you a social worker?

Just want to put in a vote for social workers here, because despite the dreadful stories that emerge there are so many stories of children who ARE protected, who do get the help, whose parents ARE supported. And they don't make the news.

very true chegirl, we all have a set of guidelines set by our own experiences and judgements. Is still remember going out with a student and her say "oh my goodness that house is a real mess", I just replied "not really when you have seen what I have".
One cases mess is another cases neglect depending on sw and their experiences imo, hence why no decision is made alone in CP.

chegirl Mon 17-Aug-09 10:11:32

No I am not a social worker. I worked with families involved with social services for many years and then my family became involved in a child protection case. After years of professional involvement I was able to be smack bang in the middle of a fairly classic 'risk of neglect' case from pre pregnancy to adoption. (we eventually adopted the child).

As much as some social workers had me pulling my hair out, I have to acknowledge the fantastic work done my many other sw involved.

IMO the best sw are those that are open, flexible and creative. Lack of experience is not always a disadvantage if someone is willing to ask for guidence. I think the worst SW is the inneffectual one. Not making huge mistakes, ticking all the boxes but not actually thinking about the child. Not pushing for the right conclusion and taking the least path of resistance.

I have to state right now I would NEVER work in CP. I think a lot of us feel this way. Therefore we should have a lot more respect for those that DO.

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