It's Criminal

 
I am a big fan of crime fiction and one of my favourite authors is Peter Robinson and his detective DCI Banks. Many of the books have been successfully televised and no doubt his latest "When the music is over " will also be turned into a two part thriller, if so I hope the tv producers rewrite the social workers cameo role from the inaccurate, poorly researched, stereotype, into something that social workers can recognise. This is all the more important because of the subject matter which involves the sexual grooming and abuse of underage white girls by older Asian men with heavy reference to Rotherham and other recent scandals. The social worker is portrayed as cynical, disinterested and defensive, rather than seeing the thirteen year old girl as a victim the phrase put into his mouth is, " life style choice". Whilst there are certainly social workers who are cynical, defensive and ineffective they are not disinterested. I don't remember any of the subsequent enquirers describing the social workers as blaming the victims. In fact I recall social workers raised their concerns repeatedly with the police and senior management only to have them dismissed or ignored. 

To add insult to injury the social worker feature is from adult care not children's services and says his limited knowledge of the family is through contact with the mother who is a drug addict going through another rehab programme. And yet he seems to know a lot about her daughter's non school attendance, being bullied and suspension. But he says, "not my case". No other social worker features in the story, no manager, no one from the school except the school secretary who is contacted to identify names of fiends who the police want to interview but only have first names or nicknames to go on.

The public's view of social workers can only be further damaged by this misleading , bias and inaccurate portrayal. Thousands may be millions will watch the story on tv and no one will be inspired to be a social worker. That's criminal. 

Blair McPherson ex social worker and former director www.blairmcpherson.co.uk 

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