Statement on the attack on a schoolgirl in Ashford

*Content warning: racism, violence*

We have been deeply disturbed and saddened by the news and footage that has been circulating this week on social media of a violent attack on a Black girl outside Thomas Knyvett College in Ashford.

We are concerned that the incident was initially downplayed by the Surrey police, who described it as a fight between a group of girls rather than what it is – a co-ordinated racially motivated attack on a Black child. The incident has now been recognised as a racially aggravated assault and is being investigated as such.

At the scene, the headteacher who has a legal duty to safeguard, failed to do so. It is, unfortunately, reminiscent of Child Q and the school’s failure to safeguard her. Five people have now been arrested, including two adults who were present at the scene, on suspicion of not only child neglect but intentionally encouraging and assisting the attack. The adultification of Black children has, once again, led to a lack of protection for a vulnerable child and a biased read of racially motivated violence.

We support the MPs calling for everyone involved to do their due diligence in this case to ensure a case is built and sent to the Crown Prosecution Service for charges. 

We would also advise against watching or sharing the footage, as it is deeply upsetting and potentially triggering. Furthermore, while recording such events can be essential proof in an investigation, especially amongst communities who are often disproportionately disregarded by the police, witnessing and sharing such violence only works to compound trauma for the victim, her loved ones, and the wider community.

Our thoughts are with the victim and her family – we wish her a quick recovery and that she gets the support she needs to recover both physically and emotionally.

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