Social workers investigate Katie Hopkins after controversial tweets

The divisive reality TV star claims her high profile triggered referral to children's services

Photo: Piers Allardyce/REX

Controversial celebrity Katie Hopkins has claimed she was the subject of a referral to her local children’s services because of her “damaging” Twitter feed.

The former The Apprentice and Celebrity Big Brother star revealed she had received a call from a child protection social worker, in an interview with trade title Management Today.

Fears for her children’s wellbeing

The social work department told Hopkins they had to follow up the referral after being alerted to fears for her children’s wellbeing, based on her Twitter feed in which she has accused dementia patients of bed-blocking, overweight people of being lazy and described migrants as “cockroaches”.

Social work academic, Dr Denise Turner, told Community Care that if it were true it was “another demonstration of how chaotic certain social care processes and reactions still are around social media. This is not surprising as it is in its infancy, but we should take it as more evidence of the need to build knowledge in this area.”

She said when it came to parents’ use of social media, the child protection threshold should be the same as with any other concern.

Research by Community Care has shown how much confusion there is around the role of social media in social work, and how practitioners can manage risk for their service users.

Courted notoriety

Hopkins has repeatedly courted notoriety with tweets and her column in The Sun newspaper.

Tweets criticising dementia patients for bed-blocking provoked charity Alzheimer’s Research UK to accuse Hopkins of reinforcing misunderstandings and entrenching stigma around dementia. The United Nations also condemned her comments on immigrants as similar to pro-genocide propaganda.

Divisive social media presence

Talking about her  divisive social media presence, Hopkins told Management Today: “I did have a call the other day from part of social services that they were concerned about the welfare of my child based on my Twitter feed, which someone thought might be damaging them. They said they had to call to follow up.

“People will try whatever mechanism there is – petitions, the UN, social services, having a go at my kids.”

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