TV and Radio interviews reflecting child protection cases. I often get approached to give these in response to negative stories as the former Chair of BASW; I feel they should be shared within the social work community to discuss the cases in a balanced view rather than the very negative approach that the media takes towards social work.
Firstly, an interview discussing why some women have multiple children removed. The interviewer was very shocked by the report and was asking why this situation occurs and stated ‘social workers should be doing more to prevent these problems’. I counterbalanced this by stating that there are many success cases which are not reported and where social workers are making a big difference. I give my reactions to her appearing to advocate stronger intervention.
Secondly, Kids Company have released results of an independent enquiry stating that services are failing young people and 1 in 5 children in the UK are living in poverty and in Bristol, where this interview took place, the figure is 1 in 4. The suggestion was that social work was either responsible for, or part of, the problem. I conveyed the need for resources in social work, that social workers have higher caseloads and limited time due to cuts from the government. The notion that poverty is caused by social workers is very unreasonable and I aimed to counteract this belief in this interview.
Thirdly, Jimmy Savile was back in the news this week, revealed to have abused over 500 people by using his fame as power. I was asked about the relevance of social work, the lessons that could be learnt by various institutions and help for victims. The one good element of this horrendous case is that hopefully people in any scenario who have experienced abuse can gain the courage to report it and get help.
In my view I feel that social workers should be heard in the media more to share positive stories about their work. We achieve so many successes and have wonderful stories about improving lives. In no way should front line staff be forced to talk or respond to negative stories. We have therefore launched a survey to ask your opinions on the subject – Social Work in the Media Survey – it’s only 10 questions and we really want to make a difference to our profession.by