Councils across Britain and Cafcass are considering taking legal action against a “vile” and “deplorable” hate site that has named and pictured social workers whom they employ.
The website, UK Social Workers Exposed, names and pictures over 20 social workers and other child protection professionals alongside Nazi imagery. It is run by a campaign that seeks to expose professionals for the supposedly unjust removal of children through care proceedings.
“Here on this website we will expose the social workers that have stolen and continue to steal the children of the UK,” the site’s mission statement reads.
Sheffield, Derbyshire, Lancashire, Glasgow, Hampshire, Redcar and Cleveland and Neath Port Talbot councils, the Northern Health and Social Care Trust in Northern Ireland, and family courts body Cafcass, who have had staff named on the site, are taking legal advice as to what action they can take to have the names removed. Reading and South Lanarkshire councils said practitioners had been wrongly named as their employees on the website, but they were taking legal advice nonetheless.
“Cafcass will not tolerate any violent, abusive or threatening behaviour towards a staff member or any other person carrying out work on behalf of Cafcass,” said a spokesperson for the organisation. “We stand by our staff and support their right to carry out work with children and families without any additional, unnecessary pressure such as that presented by this website. For these reasons, Cafcass will be considering all options for supporting practitioners who are named on this and similar websites, including exploring legal avenues and partnership working with local authorities and the British Association of Social Workers.”
“We take very seriously the issue of children and social workers being named on these irresponsible and potentially very damaging websites,” said Susie Charles, cabinet member for children and schools at Lancashire Council. “We have already taken legal action to have the details of a looked-after child removed from one site, and are considering further options.”
“It is completely unacceptable that our staff have been depicted in this way,” said a Glasgow Council spokesperson. “We will look at all the available options before deciding on an appropriate course of action.”
“Social workers are professionals and there are proper, official channels through which they are held publicly accountable for their actions, said Jayne Ludlam, Sheffield’s executive director for children, young people and families. “Web pages like this are deplorable and do not benefit any party involved whether they are the worker, the parents or the child.”
A Derbyshire Council spokesperson said: “Social workers have a tough job to do. We only take action to remove children from their parents after the courts have decided we should do so. Websites like this are unhelpful and we are looking into what action we can take to get details of our staff removed.”
Advice for practitioners
The British Association of Social Workers has issued advice to employers about responding to the naming of their staff on this and other sites, while The College of Social Work is contacting the employers concerned.
BASW professional officer Nushra Mansuri said she was “sickened” by the site, which she described as “vile”.
“I actually think the same laws applicable to dealing with for example, far right groups need to be applied,” she added. “Websites of this kind have no place in a democratic society and expose its proponents as those who do not value the rights of children to be protected by the state when they are being abused.”
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