Skip to main content

BASW’s new Chair, Julia Ross, calls out media for latest ‘naming and shaming’ of social worker

“It is time the press took a more rounded view rather than cast blame"...

This week stories emerged of a child, Lily-Mai Hurrell Saint George, who allegedly was murdered by her parents, who are currently on trial.

In the articles, from Sky News, the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail, individual social workers are named in the context of processing the discharge from hospital of Lily to her parents.

The inferences in the articles is that the social workers didn’t listen to hospital staff, and then the baby was killed.

In her first statement as Chair of BASW, Julia Ross said: " A child's death is an appalling and dreadful tragedy, but in the cases where social work in involved the blaming or even naming the social worker involved doesn’t elevate an article, nor is it journalistically relevant. Also, it is highly unlikely that any one professional is to blame.

“The article, like many before, misses context and the understanding that social workers don’t work in silos, that in-fact decisions are made as a collective between a whole team of professionals.

“It is time the press took a more rounded view rather than cast blame.

“The Serious Case Review will no doubt provide answers but until then this article oversimplifies a complex situation, and we will be engaging the journalists involved to raise these issues.”

BASW has consistently campaigned and raised awareness of better media reporting on social work.

We regularly work with media outlets to improve the standards of how social workers are portrayed, and currently are supporting the Social Workers Union in drafting a protocol to help journalists to report responsibly on stories involving social work.

We also helped to provide more context to recent media coverage over child deaths, including the growing extra pressures on the profession from austerity, increasing poverty and Covid-19.