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S3 / E4 - Dr Romana Farooq & Mma Yeebo

Detained, Restrained and Secluded: Adultification Bias towards Children & Young People from Racially Minoritised Groups

Episode Overview

In this episode, we are joined by Dr Romana Farooq and Mma Yeebo from the Clinical Psychology Doctorate Programme at Newcastle University who discuss the experiences of racially minoritised children and young people in secure settings and the criminal justice system. They talk about adultification bias towards children and young people from racially minoritised groups, as well as racial trauma, institutional racism and social inequalities. Suggestions for culturally sensitive and culturally responsive services are offered.

“Adultification bias is a process through which young people from racially minoritised backgrounds are perceived to be older than their White counterparts or peers, they are seen to be more adult-like through all different stages of development, and seen to be more likely to be perceived as older, more mature, more sexually aware, less vulnerable, less innocent, more intimidating, and all those different things... studies have shown that this can be seen in Black girls as young as 5 years old.”

About Dr Romana Farooq & Mma Yeebo

Dr Romana Farooq is a Principal Clinical Psychologist with significant experience of having worked in complex settings such as the Children & Young People Secure Estate. She is also Academic Director on the Newcastle University Clinical Psychology Doctorate Programme. She was awarded the British Psychological Society Early Career Award for outstanding contributions to Clinical Psychology in respect of her work with children and young people subject to sexual exploitation. Romana specialises in working with children, young people and their families who are subject to human rights violations, child exploitation, trafficking, modern day slavery, forced criminality and gangs. Romana has been involved in shaping, developing and delivering services for children and young people subject to sexual exploitation, sexual violence or displaying harmful sexual behaviour. She has developed a keen interest and passion for working with diverse communities and speaks regularly on inclusivity and the importance of inclusive leadership.

Current Role: Principal Clinical Psychologist & Academic Director

Mma Yeebo is a third year trainee Clinical Psychologist on the Newcastle programme. She will be moving onto a qualified role at the Psychological Therapies and Training Clinic at Newcastle University as the Clinical Lead and overseeing a pathway to increase access to psychological therapies for postgraduate students from a racially minoritised background. Mma is interested in working in a trauma informed manner in highly secure environments and with people struggling with a range of mental health difficulties. She has an interest in increasing the accessibility of Psychological support for all, especially those from marginalised groups and individuals who occupy a racialised position. She has a general interest in social justice and non-Western approaches to mental health and psychological distress.

Current Role: Trainee Clinical Psychologist

"Services are not picking up on the needs of children and young people early enough, so there's no early intervention or diversion... We know that social inequalities, systemic racism, institutional racism exists in society, we can't deny that."

Episode Title: Detained, Restrained and Secluded: Adultification Bias towards Children & Young People from Racially Minoritised Groups

Episode #: Series 3: Episode 4

“It's important for individuals within these setting to have an anti-racist perspective, to be aware of how racial dynamics and systemic racism might get played out in these settings and be aware of processes of adultification... and I guess that links with the importance of having an inclusive and diverse workforce. The issue we have is that in these establishments the workforce is not diverse and does not represent the children and young people in these settings, hence they are less likely to pick up on issues of race, ethnicity, racism, power, [and] adultification.”






Farooq, R., Addy, C., Appiah, A., James, Y., Feshki, M., & Kennedy, J. (2021). Ethnic variations in admissions to the Children and Young People Secure Estate - A five year retrospective review, Forensic Update, 138, 20-26.

Richardson, T., Yeebo, M., Jansen, M., Elliott, P. and Roberts, R. (2018), "Financial difficulties and psychosis risk in British undergraduate students: a longitudinal analysis", Journal of Public Mental Health, 17(2), 61-68.

Yeebo, M. (2015). Ethnic differences in BDNF Val66Met polymorphism, British Journal of Psychiatry, 207(4), 363-363.


Farooq, R., & Rodrigues, T. (2020). ‘Marginal Leaders’: Making Visible the Leadership Experiences of Black Women in a Therapeutic Service for Disenfranchised Young People. In The International Handbook of Black Community Mental Health. Emerald Publishing Limited.

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