Social workers and professional bodies have condemned a ‘vile’ and ‘offensive’ website that threatens to ‘expose’ UK social workers by publishing their names and photographs online.
The website, called UK Social Workers Exposed, features Nazi symbolism and claims to be exposing social workers’ identities in the best interests of parents and children. “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.
The names and photographs of around 20 social workers and Cafcass guardians have already been published on the site and a related facebook page, with the site’s creators asking web users to share more names.
Some photographs include further details, such as the number of children the social worker is believed to have taken into care.
Community Care understands that one local authority is considering taking legal action against the website, on the grounds that it incites violence and hatred. After being alerted to the site by Community Care, the College of Social Work (TCSW) is contacting employers whose staff have been named.
Social workers also expressed their outrage on social networking sites today, with many urging colleagues to ensure they have protected the personal information they store online.
Nushra Mansuri, professional officer at the British Association of Social Workers, said she was “sickened” by the site, which she described as “vile” and “disturbing”.
“BASW roundly condemns the organisation calling itself UK Social Workers Exposed. Such websites should be removed as they incite hatred and worse against a number of professional groups involved in child protection, including social workers.
“While we acknowledge that there should be legitimate support groups and pressure groups for parents who have had their children removed, this is not one of them.
“Displaying photographs of individual social workers and depicting them as criminals is truly shocking – particularly those involved in the Baby Peter case who are accused of having blood on their hands,” she said.
She continued: “I actually think the same laws applicable to dealing with for example, far right groups need to be applied. 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.”
Ruth Allen, spokesperson for TCSW, said the College “strongly condemns this offensive website, which seems to be targeting and ‘exposing’ a random list of social workers, many of them simply because they work in the field of child protection”.
“Wherever possible, social workers will try to keep children with their families, provided that this is in their best interest,” Allen said. “However, where social workers consider that children cannot remain safely with their families, they will present evidence for the court to decide on any actions necessary to protect the child.
“For their dedication to their professionalism, particularly in the emotionally charged area of child protection, social workers deserve society’s respect.”
The British Association of Social Workers is currently drawing up a UK-wide policy to help social workers use social media in both a personal and professional capacity.