Following the horrific discovery that the Metropolitan Police strip searched an underage minor whilst she was menstruating, Churches Together in England’s Pentecostal and Charismatic Forum and Racial Justice Working Group released the following statement:
Churches Together in England’s Racial Justice Working Group and Pentecostal and Charismatic Forum wish to share our dismay and horror at the report of a 15 year old girl who was strip searched whilst on her menstruation at school. As churches, we believe that civic institutions such as schools and the police should be safe spaces for young people to flourish and have dignity.
We are concerned by the breaches in safeguarding and call on the Metropolitan Police, the Secretary of State for the Home Office, Rt Hon Priti Patel MP, The Minister of State for Crimes and Policing, Rt Hon Kit Malthouse MP and Secretary of State for Education Rt Hon Nadhim Zahawi MP, to fully investigate this incident and to continue to challenge and uproot institutional racism and the disproportionate treatment of Black and Brown people.
We express our empathy to Child Q and her family for the distress this has caused and as churches we continue to work and pray for a safe, fair and equitable society for young people and all to flourish.
The National Church Leaders Forum (NCLF) also released a statement
The NCLF calls for:
- Those responsible from the school and the police to be suspended pending a full investigation with legal powers so that everyone responsible for this trauma is held accountable;
- The principle of pastoral care and safeguarding of minors, enshrined in national and international law, be emphasised to the education and police system;
- The law be changed if necessary so as not to permit a minor to be strip-searched unless their parents/guardians are present and agreeable, or the child is in mortal danger themselves or endangering others;
- The investigation to seek to establish what, if any part, personal and or systemic racism played in the actions of both the school and the police;
- That the child and her family be compensated for the trauma, psychological and physical abuse and damage suffered;
- Steps to be taken to try and ensure that nothing of this order happens ever again to a minor.