Are you affected by negative media coverage of social workers?
In June, Community Care launched our Choose Social Work campaign to champion the social work profession and inspire the next generation of social workers.
As part of this, we are exploring how the often negative media coverage of the profession affects social workers – and how it can be improved.
Analysis by academic Dr Maria Leedham, a guest on a forthcoming Choose Social Work podcast episode, found that a quarter of mentions of social workers in UK newspapers over a three-month period in 2019 were negative, with only 6% positive.
And in an interview with Community Care, Sharon Shoesmith – director of children’s services at Haringey Council when the death of Peter Connelly hit the headlines – talked about the impact that the media coverage still has on her life.
Fifteen years on from the appalling treatment Shoesmith received from the media – which culminated in her being sacked on live TV – a workman fixing her neighbour’s fence responded to her criticism of a previous repair with, “Well, it’s not as bad as what you did to that baby is it?”.
So far, Choose Social Work has mainly focused on showing the positive side of social work and the brilliant work that social workers do, in order to counteract the negative coverage. However, part of changing the public opinion of social work is also understanding the harm this coverage does to the sector.
More from Choose Social Work
- ‘We never hear about the children social workers help’: a day in the life of a social work team
- ‘It was wonderful to have somebody show me they really cared’
- When social work becomes a family affair
- ‘The advice that has stayed with me through my social work career’
- ‘You can literally change a young person’s life’: an 18-year-old’s message for social workers
- ‘What I wish I’d known before becoming a social worker’