Following the serious incident of a mass assault on a young black teenage girl in Ashford on 6 February 2023, a cross-party group of MPs and I wrote to the Home Secretary to regarding this incident and to seek assurances on the welfare of the child victim, the police investigation, and safeguarding practices in schools.

You can read the letter below.

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Dear Home Secretary,

We are writing regarding the serious incident of a mass assault on a young black teenage girl in Ashford on 6 February 2023.

Of paramount concern is the physical and emotional welfare of the victim, who is confirmed to have sustained injuries as a result of the attack. We are seriously concerned by the nature of this attack and the sharing of video footage online and on social media, which will undoubtedly cause significant emotional trauma for the victim. As such, we would be grateful if you can confirm that support is being made available to the victim and her family, and how this aligns with support offered to victims and families who have suffered from attacks of this nature.

Social media reports have indicated that this attack was racially motivated and follows students at the secondary school the victim attends racially abusing the victim in recent days. This is naturally incredibly concerning, in particular given the risk of community tensions in Ashford being inflamed and the impact this incident will have on the black community in the United Kingdom more widely. As such, we would appreciate if you could confirm whether racism is being investigated as a motive for this incident; whether the victim had previously been subjected to physical and/or verbal racial abuse by students at the school; and what the school, the police and other relevant authorities knew of and did in response if the victim had been racially abused. Additionally, please confirm that every possible action to fully investigate this incident and to charge and prosecute those responsible is being taken by Surrey Police so that the victim can be reassured that justice will be served.

Given that this attack is potentially racially motivated, the description of this incident by Surrey Police as a ‘fight between a group of girls’ worryingly misrepresents the seriousness of the incident and the impact such language may have on the black community in Ashford and across the country. We therefore ask what discussions your Department has had with Surrey Police regarding this description and that this is corrected as a matter of urgency to reflect the seriousness of the incident.

The circulation of video footage of the incident online and on social media raises the likelihood of young people locally, nationally and internationally seeing the video. We appreciate that Surrey Police have requested that social media users stop sharing this video and we recognise the urgency and importance of this. As such, please could you confirm what additional steps your Department can and expects to take to prevent the circulation of video footage of the incident, including through liaising with Surrey Police.

The school’s response must also be evaluated immediately. Reports circulating online and on social media indicate that a number of people, including staff from the school, watched on without acting and failed to disperse onlookers during the incident. This bystander apathy follows reports that the school failed to take action against the racist abuse of the victim in the days leading up to the incident. If accurate, this inadequate response is cause for considerable concern for the safeguarding of students, in particular black, Asian and ethnic minority students, at the school. This would merit urgent scrutiny and we encourage you to liaise with the Education Secretary in relation to this.

We would therefore be grateful if you or the Education Secretary can share further information on the safeguarding practices in place for black, Asian and ethnic minority students at risk of racist abuse; the training school staff receive on handling racism in schools; the disciplinary action which may be taken against school staff where due process is not followed regarding the handling of this incident by the school; and the intervention your Department, or another relevant Department, provides to schools facing an incident of this nature.

Given the national importance and urgency of this matter, we are copying this letter to the Education Secretary, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey, and the Chief Constable for Surrey Police.

We look forward to receiving your urgent response.


Kind regards,

Janet Daby MP

Member of Parliament for Lewisham East

Chair of the APPG on Children in Police Custody


Hannah Bardell MP

Apsana Begum MP

Sir Peter Bottomley MP

Dawn Butler MP

Ian Byrne MP

Feryal Clark MP

Daisy Cooper MP

Rt. Hon. Jeremy Corbyn MP

Marsha de Cordova MP

Allan Dorans MP

Rosie Duffield MP

Rt. Hon. Sir Robert Goodwill MP

Paulette Hamilton MP

Emma Hardy MP

Sir Mark Hendrick MP

Dr Rupa Huq MP

Christine Jardine MP

Kim Johnson MP

Emma Lewell-Buck MP

Clive Lewis MP

Caroline Lucas MP

Rachael Maskell MP

Andy McDonald MP

Rt. Hon. John McDonnell MP

Grahame Morris MP

Rt. Hon. Caroline Nokes MP

Kate Osamor MP

Virendra Sharma MP

Zarah Sultana MP

Rt. Hon. Valerie Vaz MP

Claudia Webbe MP

Nadia Whittome MP

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