A leading academic has criticised the Victoria Climbie Report for
failing to acknowledge that “institutional racism” was a key factor
in Victoria’s death.
Kwame Owusu-Bempah, a reader in psychology at the school of social
work, University of Leicester, said that “political correctness” in
social care practice is nothing more than “camouflaged racism” and
that it “results in more harm being done than good”.
Speaking at the Congolese Refugee Women’s Association conference on
black African children and their families, Owusu-Bempah said that
routinely giving cases involving black children and their families
to black social workers is “insidious and divisive”.
He told the conference, held last week in Chingford, Essex, that
any practice based solely on skin colour was camouflaged racism.
“The segregation of services – identifying the needs of a specific
racial group and recruiting members of that group exclusively to
meet those needs – smacks of racial segregation. It is a move
“Was it a sheer coincidence that all five statutory bodies
allocated black workers to Victoria’s case?” he added.
Margo Boye-Anawoma, the barrister who acted on behalf of Victoria’s
parents Francis and Berthe Climbi’, told delegates that the parents
had been deeply upset at the suggestion they had given her away
“without so much as a thought”.
The chance for Victoria to receive an education in Europe “was like
winning the lottery for them”.
She said that it was wrong to assume that race could not be a
factor in the case because the social workers were black.
“Victoria jumping to attention in front of Marie Therese Kouao was
dismissed as cultural respect and the marks on her body as from
being brought up in Africa,” she added.