Alinsky, community action, George Goetschius, Paulo Friere, Social media guidance, social work, social work blogs, social work memes, social work superheroes, social work twitter, Survivors

Social work bloggers and tweeters

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The numbers of social work bloggers and tweeters are increasing daily.  This is both positive and negative. On the one hand there are some who promote ideologies and views which are inconsistent with social work values and it seems that there is little that can be done about it. It’s a free for all out there online and my concern is the impact of this on service users and public opinion. There have always been those wanting to denigrate social work and if this approach seems to come from within the profession then it gives a powerful message. On the other hand there are those who counter these views and the online world becomes a public battlefield no longer confined to social work journals, books and magazines or subject to peer review or measured academic restraints. Anyone can have a voice and anyone can gather followers, and shout loudly. The messages will be picked up and gloated on by unscrupulous media and those who are certainly not our allies – voices which cruelly feed the backlash against social work. There is, of course, some excellent authentic social work input and the challenge is to sort the wheat from the chaff which  involves dedicated research and investigation – online skills largely as yet undeveloped within social work.

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child protection, child protection investigation, Gisburne House, Islington Survivors Network, Organized Abuse, social work, Survivors, Uncategorized

The horrors of Gisburne House

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Gisburne House was built in Watford, Hertfordshire in 1912 as an industrial school for girls. The photo above is from that era and the other photo is from a World in Action (1977) programme . In 2017, Islington Council officials have no knowledge of Gisburne House and no documentation of any kind about it. When we ask them to check names of staff alleged to be abusive, it seems these staff have vanished into thin air.  It is as if all corporate memory of 30 years, and hundreds of childrens lives, has been erased.

Not of course in the minds of the survivors who are coming forward to Islington Survivors Network (ISN) to tell of their experiences during the 70s and 80s. They describe how they still cannot sleep  because of the flashbacks and in the daytime they are traumatised by all kinds of smells, situations and events which trigger memories of sexual crimes, emotional devastation and extreme violence. They show us the physical signs of long-ago beatings, have intense concern about child victims of cruelty which they witnessed and question why seemingly nice social workers did not hear their repeated cries for help.  After years of being on constant high alert,  trying to protect themselves and others from abuse, I always ask – ‘Is there anywhere now where you feel safe?’ After a long pause, even from those who now have settled relationships and very supportive, loving families,  the answer is generally ‘No’.  They now seek justice and redress. Continue reading

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child protection, child protection investigation, Islington Survivors Network, Organized Abuse, Sandy Marks, Survivors, Uncategorized, Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015

Sandy Marks: In 2014 I asked for a dialogue

This letter was emailed in 2014 to Sandy Marks, former Chair of Islington Social Services Committee and Mayor, via the Head of Services and Consultancy of  Disability Action in Islington  who had agreed to forward it to her as she was Chair of the charity. The content is self-explanatory and asks her to discuss with me her perspective on the Islington child abuse scandal.  In the absence of confirmation, it is possible she did not receive it. Following the Islington Gazette article, 11th May 2017,  I thought it would be of wider interest.  See Islington Survivors Network website for further context. Continue reading

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child protection, IICSA, Investigative Interviewing, Islington Survivors Network, Operation Hydrant, Organized Abuse, prisoners, Survivors, Truth Project, Uncategorized

Survivors in prison – IICSA ‘Truth’ Project may put them at risk

A recent initiative for the so called ‘Truth’ Project to ask prisoners to share their experiences of child sexual abuse with facilitators from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) raises many questions and concerns for me.  I say ‘so called’ because the project includes no published criteria or methods for testing the accounts so ‘Listening to Survivors Project’ would be a far more accurate title. Continue reading

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