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Tagged In:  Social Work, Social Worker
No one disputes what happened to Baby P, otherwise known as 17-month-old Peter Connelly, was an horrific tragedy, and no one could predict the aftermath of hate and abuse hurled, not just at those responsible for his death, but the social workers and other agencies who work tirelessly to safeguard children like Peter.

In his book, 'The Story of Baby P: Setting the record straight' Professor Ray Jones reveals to what extent those involved in the care of Peter Connelly, were targeted in the media 'witch-hunt', leading to the sacking of key professionals, including the Director of Children's Services in Haringey, Sharon Shoesmith, and social workers Maria Ward, Sylvia Henry and their boss, Gillie Christou.

Peter Connelly died in August 2007, in his cot at his home in Tottenham, after suffering severe physical abuse, including a fractured spine, broken ribs, a torn franum (the tissue that connects the tongue to the lower mouth or gum to the cheek), bruising, marks to his head and a tooth found in his colon. Fifteen months later, his mother Tracey Connelly, her boyfriend, Steven Barker and his brother Jason Owen, were all charged and sentenced in connection with Peter's death.

It is from this point that the media frenzy took hold, primarily led by The Sun newspaper, and has continued for almost six years since, in a variety of forms. Sadly, Peter’s case is not isolated. Many other children and vulnerable adults have suffered and still, despite reforms, continue to suffer at the hands of those who are supposed to protect them.

Professor Jones, (after what must have been exhaustive research) over the past six years or so, has included in this book or at least a reference to, practically every published article associated or linked to this case, along with other corresponding reports and judicial reviews.

Extensive and, to be fair, impartial though the content appears to be, the true picture of what happened to Peter is not conclusively published here. Instead, in 'setting the record straight', Professor Jones has explored and reported on every conceivable injustice that has befallen the social care profession and its staff, since the 'Baby P' incident hit the headlines.

Despite several 'independent' enquiries, conspiracies and political point scoring, and the relationships of many key figures coming under scrutiny, Professor Jones' account can't conclusively explain why social workers and social care professionals took such a beating. More controversially perhaps, and whether completely relevant or not, the Leveson enquiry and subsequent trial of Rebekah Brooks and other News International associates have also been extensively covered, to the point where, the publication of this book was held back until the outcome of that case.

In essence, social care reforms were needed and, in light of what happened to Peter Connelly, have been instigated - but at what cost and has it really made a difference?

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