A social worker targeted by The Sun newspaper over her involvement in the Baby P case in Haringey is to be awarded damages by the newspaper, the High Court ruled this morning.
Sylvia Henry was one of the Haringey social workers targeted by The Sun following the child’s death in 2007.
The Sun’s solicitor said in court: “The Sun fully accepts that the claimant played no part and bears no responsibility for the circumstances surrounding the death of Peter Connelly and that she did her best for him. The Sun apologises to Ms Henry.”
The Sun has agreed to publish in the print and online editions “its unreserved apology to Ms Henry for the distress that she has been caused”, Henry’s solicitor confirmed in court.
Henry was named in 80 articles, reports have said, and she featured in the petition created by the newspaper, signed by 1.6 million people, and delivered to the government.
Many in the social care sector have cited this document as the origin of the furore surrounding the case, leading to a huge increase in child protection referrals in England.
Nushra Mansuri, a social worker and professional officer for BASW – the College of Social Work, said the verdict was a victory for social workers in the fight against “witch-hunts spearheaded by national newspapers”.
“It is time to end the trial by media. If today’s verdict signals the end to this sort of vitriolic and unhelpful reporting then that would be best for everyone.
“Sadly, child abuse cases will still happen but it is important that we learn from them and understand that instigating public witch-hunts does not help anyone,” she said.
What do you think? Join the debate on CareSpace
Keep up to date with the latest developments in social care. Sign up to our daily and weekly emails