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Petition urging government action on assaults against social workers gains 10,000 signatures

A petition urging the government to tackle assaults on social workers has received more than 10,000 signatures.

BASW and SWU launched the petition which asks the government to submit an amendment to the Police, Crime and Sentencing Bill, to make it an additional offence to assault social workers when on duty.

The petition has passed 10,000 signatures, which means it will receive a government response.

BASW has written to government, asking for an amendment to the Assaults on Emergency Workers Act to include social workers and has contacted Shadow Ministers urging their support on this issue.

The Association is calling for government to lay an amendment at Committee Stage of the Police, Crime and Sentencing Bill to amend the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act 2018 by adding social workers to the list of professions that is in additional offence to assault.

The letter to the Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “Social workers as part of their statutory duties regularly work with people in situations of severe stress: for example, child safeguarding, domestic abuse, mental health and vulnerable young people. Occasionally, this stress spills over into violence against social workers themselves.

“As the professional membership organisation for social workers, we regularly hear from our members about difficult and challenging circumstances that they have had to work in as part of their job. There is no shortage of stories from social workers about their experiences of being threatened or assaulted when on duty. This is unacceptable.

“Social workers are entitled to parity of esteem with other public sector professionals such as health workers in the NHS. This is not an attempt to penalise those individuals who use social work services and are genuinely vulnerable, but an important right for social workers knowing that they enjoy the same legal protections as other professionals in similar situations," the letter added.

Currently, professions that it is an additional offence to assault include all frontline emergency workers – except social workers.

The Bill is due to go to Committee Stage in May, which is when MPs will debate and vote on amendments.


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