Africans held back by colonial legacy

Nana Amamoo, director of the African Families
Foundation, argued that it was difficult for members of African
communities to report concerns to statutory agencies, because of
the legacy of colonialism.

Amamoo argued that black people were
apprehensive about approaching white figures of authority.

“We should not dismiss lightly the very
painful relationship we have had with colonialism and what
authority has meant for us.”

She said they also had to contend with the
belief held by many in the wider community that Africans did not
have love or concern for the welfare of their children, and a lack
of understanding or respect for African ways of doing things.

Because of this, she said, there was a
tendency to overlook or not acknowledge abuse of African children
as efficiently or effectively as possible, and even when abuse was
suspected those in authority might be more interested in other
issues, such as their immigration status and eligibility for

Amamoo said that if a person did not speak
English, or speak it in a way that was easily understood by the
person at the front desk in an agency, whatever they had decided to
come to talk about would be overlooked.

“If it was agreed and made perfectly clear to
everybody in the community that all children in this country –
regardless of how they came to be here – are eligible for all
services it would make things much, much easier,” she said.

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