In the wake of George Floyd’s death, the Devon SCP Executive Group want to provide the following statement to all colleagues and families across Devon.
The Devon Safeguarding Children Partnership stands with all those appalled by the death of George Floyd and the racism that it represents.
At its core, the Partnership exists to protect and safeguard the lives of all children and families across Devon. But we recognise the additional structural barriers that many in our communities face because of the colour of their skin. A timely reminder of this has been in Public Health England’s recent report showing that people from Black and Asian ethnic groups have the highest diagnosis and death rates from coronavirus (COVID-19). While we await more-detailed insights and recommendations, it is thought that socio-economic factors, health outcomes, quality of housing and type of employment play key roles. These issues have deep roots and the solutions will not be easy, but we all have a role to play.
Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Police, Shaun Sawyer, has said:
“Our experiences here in Cornwall and Devon during the early stages of COVID-19 saw communities come together to find the positives from tragedy, to reach out to each other and challenge negative behaviour. Sadly, we also saw abusive and negative attitudes in some parts of this force area which was challenged by a coalition of partners, including this force.
This is a time for communities and individuals to overtly speak out in support of those from Black and Ethnic Minority communities, to reaffirm our collective rejection of racism and hate.”
Devon County Council’s Corporate Equality Officer, Jo Hooper, also expressed her rejection of racism:
“#BlackLivesMatter has hit our social media feed, this time in response to the death of George Floyd – a Black man murdered by a police officer in America. You may have even taken part in #BlackoutTuesday like I did.
“Some people respond with #AllLivesMatter. Yes, all lives do matter, but this is missing the point of #BlackLivesMatter – it’s there to raise awareness of the systemic racism that has existed for hundreds of years which, at its worst, results in the death of people because of their skin colour; something that White people are unlikely to ever experience. Behind the hashtag is the message: “stop treating Black lives as worthless”.
The full statement from Jo Hooper and Councillor Barry Parsons, Lead Member for Equality, is available on the Inside Devon website.
The diversity and equality of individuals and communities is what brings value to Devon. As partners, we continue to work together to ensure every child in Devon has the best life chances, is healthy and well and is safe from abuse and exploitation – regardless of the colour of their skin.
If you have experienced hate crime and feel unable to report directly to the Police or local authority, Plymouth and Devon Racial Equality Council provides free confidential information, advice and support to victims and witnesses of Race Hate Incidents and Crimes.