Thursday, 11 March 2010
Social workers brace themselves for another round of media vilification.
Recent revelations about the shocking case of a father who repeatedly raped his daughters over a twenty five year period and the apparent complete failure of social and health care professionals to intervene, is resulting in another media led witch hunt of social workers. Some of this criticism will be justified, some less so. In a perfect world of course, communities would play a far bigger role in preventing child abuse but that is not the reality of today's world, and I'm not sure how much it ever was. Putting aside for a moment any visions of a future society that we might harbour, it has to be admitted that it is essential that we have some form of professional social care structure. Social workers are frequently portrayed as either elitist interfering, middle class, lefty do-gooders or as inefficient, uncaring careerists. There is probably an element of truth in both criticisms but I have to say that most of the social workers that I have come into contact with have been, regardless of any other failings, genuinely compassionate individuals doing there best in overstretched and underfunded departments. If you are a five feet two female case worker it must be pretty daunting doorstepping an intimidating six foot man with a known track record of violence. Why are there so few male social workers? Why don't some of those smart arse rugger buggers have a go? They might find it change from trying to be something in the city and moaning about clueless social services departments.