College of Social Work chief blasts stereotyping of social workers

College chief executive Annie Hudson has called for more balanced media reporting of child protection cases

Annie Hudson, chief executive of the College of Social Work
Annie Hudson, chief executive of the College of Social Work. Photo: Tom Parkes

The head of the College of Social Work has accused media organisations of preying on social workers and called for fairer and more balanced reporting of child protection cases.

Speaking today at Community Care’s The Baby P Legacy Five Years On conference, college chief executive Annie Hudson said the media too often resorts to negative stereotyping of social workers.

“There have been some examples of fair and well-researched print and broadcast social work journalism since the Baby Peter case, led by the hard work of social workers and media professionals to communicate the reality of social work in England,” she said. “Sadly, however, there have also been some truly insensitive and unethical examples too.”

Hudson highlighted the recent coverage of the Italian woman who, some newspapers claimed, was forced to have a caesarean section by social workers.

“As shown by last week’s factually incorrect media coverage of the good work Essex social workers did to support a mother and baby, social workers are still easy prey for provocative and skewed stories about their everyday practice to safeguard vulnerable children and adults,” she told the audience.

She urged media organisations to “look beyond the short-term news agenda” and focus on better researched reports that “portray properly the complexities of social work and the valuable role it plays”.

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