Children more at risk since Baby P, says sacked council chief
Cahal Milmo is the chief reporter of The Independent and has been with the paper since 2000. He was born in London and previously worked at the Press Association news agency. He has reported on assignment at home and abroad, including Rwanda, Sudan and Burkina Faso, the phone hacking scandal and the London Olympics. In his spare time he is a keen runner and cyclist, and keeps an allotment.
Sunday 06 January 2013
The social services head sacked over the death of Baby P has said that she contemplated suicide after being publicly vilified and avoids the London Underground following police warnings that she might be pushed under a moving train.
Sharon Shoesmith, who was blamed for a catalogue of failings that led to Peter Connelly suffering repeated injuries despite multiple visits from social workers, police and doctors, said she had been unable to move on since she lost her job in 2008 and now lives on benefits.
The former head of children’s services for the London Borough of Haringey said she believed children were now at greater risk in the wake of the Baby P scandal because social workers were now perceived as people to hide from.
In a rare interview, Ms Shoesmith told Public Servant magazine she avoids public places in case she is recognised and regards any approaching stranger as a possible assailant. She said: “I used to have a £130,000-a-year job running my own department and was a national reference point for Ofsted for special educational needs, but no organisation will take the risk of employing me because of who I am.”
The former social services chief won her case for unfair dismissal after she was sacked by Ed Balls, when he was Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, and is seeking compensation of up to £1m.
She said child protection had been turned into an “exact science” with exceptional cases such as Peter Connelly’s driving policy.
“I think children are more at risk now than before Peter died because we [social workers] have become people to hide from instead of people who can help,” she said.
Ms Shoesmith, 59, said she had been brought down to such a low level by public anger at official failings during the Baby P case that at one point she believed she had actually been the cause of his death.
“I was certainly no softy, but being held directly [responsible] for the brutal murder of a child was something that I found impossible to live with. I remember asking, ‘Did I murder him?’ I was in such a state that I actually believed I had killed him.”
- 1 Double chins could be 'cured' without surgery or dieting using new injection
- 2 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 3 Dog thinks owner is drowning in lake, dives in and tries to pull him out
- 5 Thank heavens for Louise Mensch and her foul-mouthed tweets to world leaders
Scientists discover way to unboil an egg – and the results are not as pointless as that sounds
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Greece elections: Greek PM Alexis Tsipras takes aim at 'neo-liberal' Europe as country gears up for prolonged austerity battle
Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary: Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
Chilling drone footage captures Auschwitz ahead of 70th anniversary of liberation
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This web-based lead generation ...
£125 - £150 per day + Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: A 'wonderful primary ...
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Our client is an 11-16 mixed commun...
£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly developing company in...