The chief social workers in England have emphasised support for the social work profession following the media coverage of the death of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes.
Arthur died in June last year following a campaign of cruelty inflicted by his step-mother and father. Arthur had bruising to his head and body, appeared under-weight and his gums were bleeding. He was taken to hospital but sadly despite the best efforts of medical staff he died at 1am the following morning.
Arthur’s step-mother Emma Tustin has been jailed for life with a minimum of 29 years after she was found guilty of murdering Arthur Labinjo-Hughes. His father Thomas Hughes has been convicted of his manslaughter and jailed for 21 years.
The chief social worker for children Isabelle Trowler and her equivalent for adult services Lyn Romeo have written to all social workers after recognising “the strength of feeling and collective shock from the public about the cruel treatment” to which Arthur was subjected, and acknowledging “that this creates a difficult context for your practice, as social workers”.
In a joint letter from both chief social workers, they highlighted that the Rt Hon Secretary of State for Education, Nadhim Zahawi gave an Oral Statement to the House of Commons where he emphasised the government’s support for all safeguarding professionals.
As part of that statement, he said: “Those already serving our country’s most vulnerable children deserve our thanks – and I want to be extremely clear that no safeguarding professional should be the victim of any abuse. The targeting of individuals is wrong, deplorable and helps nobody.”
The chief social workers said: “We want to reiterate this message. The part you play in supporting and protecting the country’s most vulnerable children, adults and families makes a positive difference each and every single day. We condemn those targeting abuse towards individual social workers and the social work profession.”
“We are pleased that Annie Hudson, the chair of the National Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel, will work with leaders in Solihull to deliver a single, national, independent review of Arthur’s death. We know Annie well, and trust that she will lead a thorough and fair review of multi-agency practice which, will encompass local government, as well as those working in the police, health and education sectors,” the letter concluded.
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