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Don’t meet blame with blame: we need to understand it

Note: this is an updated post from October 2015. This latest post includes some additional recommended reading. 

Sharon Shoesmith found herself scapegoated and hunted following the death of Peter Connelly in Haringey, the authority in which she worked as head of children’s services at the time.

More than anyone, she knows what it’s like to feel the full brunt of society’s need to apportion blame whenever a child dies as a result of abuse or neglect. She says ‘the culture of blame has to stop’. Sharon is clear that “meeting blame with blame” isn’t helpful either. Instead she says “we need to understand it”.
Writing for an issue of Professional Social Work magazine, she explains the forces at play that lead to social workers being scapegoated in such cases.
Read Sharon’s article here: Shoesmith: culture of blame has to stop

Recommend viewing

Youtube of various keynote addresses held as part of the Annual Safeguarding Conference provided by Bucks New University in June 2015.

The presentations explore the challenges of inter-professional working and communication in safeguarding practice across both adults and children’s safeguarding and includes a presentation by Sharon Shoesmith.

Good listening

BBC Radio 4 (May 2016) The Blame Game

Related publications

Community Care (2014) Sir Keir Starmer warns against ‘witch hunting’ blame culture in social work

Community Care (2016) ‘I know what it’s like to struggle and want to quit – that’s why I founded iamsocialwork’

The Scotsman (2014)  Culture of blame only adds to risk

The Guardian (2014) Social work needs positive news stories – why are they so hard to tell?

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