Warning: this article includes graphic content
A black child was subjected by police to a strip search at her London school that involved exposure of intimate body parts, according to an official investigation which found racism was likely to have been an “influencing factor” in the officers’ actions.
No appropriate adult was present during the 15-year-old girl’s ordeal, described by a senior local authority figure as “humiliating, traumatising and utterly shocking” and which took place without parental consent and in the knowledge that she was menstruating.
Details of her treatment in her secondary school’s medical room have emerged in a child safeguarding review initiated by Hackney council after the incident in December 2020.
The child was made to bend over, spread her legs and use her hands to spread her buttocks while coughing, and she is now in therapy and self-harming, according to family members’ statements to the inquiry.
The damning report said: “Having considered the context of the incident, the views of those engaged in the review and the impact felt by Child Q and her family, racism (whether deliberate or not) was likely to have been an influencing factor in the decision to undertake a strip search.”
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SOURCE: The Guardian, Ben Quinn