‘Culture Clash’ failing abused Asian children

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Asian children suffering in silence, say NSPCC

ASIAN children’s needs are being sidelined as cultural misunderstandings and ‘political correctness’ hinder the authorities from protecting them from the effects of domestic violence, a new NSPCC report has warned.

The children’s charity is calling for better training and support for professionals working with Asian victims of domestic violence so they can handle cultural sensitivities better.

In the report which was published today, social care professionals highlighted domestic violence cases where police, health, education and social services, did not feel qualified to deal with Asian victims.

The charity said this sometimes led them to take the wrong action or no action at all on the grounds of respecting Asian culture.

NSPCC head of policy and public affairs, Diana Sutton said: “Children who are victims or witnesses of domestic violence can suffer both physical and emotional scars that can stay with them throughout their lives. Every child, from every community has the right to be protected.

“Domestic violence affects every class, age and ethnicity, but the experiences of those affected and the help they need can differ. The needs and rights of Asian children are being ignored too often.”

The most recent estimates show that 750,000 children are affected by domestic violence annually.

As a Home Affairs Committee inquiry prepares to report on the effectiveness of Government attempts to tackle domestic violence on 13 June, the NSPCC is highlighting the need for better protection of Asian children.

Social care professionals reported that some Asian perpetrators of domestic violence used their culture and religion to justify their abusive actions and control their victims. 

The report also found cases where Asian women and children were subjected to further domestic violence by the extended family, particularly in-laws. In these cases, children were turned against their mother or used to control her.

The report found that Asian adults and children were brought up to believe that the public image of the family is more important than individual safety and family problems should be kept secret. This makes leaving or getting help for a violent and abusive family situation more difficult.

The NSPCC’s Asian Helpline Manager, Saleha Islam said: “Asian children and their mothers suffer the double injustice of a community that would rather save face than deal with domestic violence and a system that lacks cultural understanding so hides behind political correctness.”

One child told the NSPCC Asian Helpline: “Teachers don’t understand. None of them are Asian. I need to speak to someone from a similar background so they can understand what is happening to me.”

NSPCC head of policy and public affairs, Diana Sutton added: “Research cited in the report revealed that Asian women and children worry about racism and stereotyping by the authorities and are more likely to use services which are especially for Asians.   We want to see the Government train and support professionals working with Asian victims of domestic violence so they can handle cultural sensitivities better.

“The Government must also work with community leaders to find ways of lifting the stigma around domestic violence.”

The NSPCC is also calling on the Government to recruit more Asians, including interpreters, to work with Asian victims of domestic violence, and fund tailor-made refuges catering for Asian children and their mothers.

The report showed that just 28 of the 400 domestic violence refuges in England are Asian refuges. These refuges were found to be over-crowed and under-resourced. They also had inadequate facilities for children who were often traumatized by their experience.

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