Sacked council chief tells of Baby P 'distress'
Sacked social services chief Sharon Shoesmith today spoke of her distress and sorrow over the death of Baby Peter as she warned that the "whole story" of what happened to the toddler had not yet been told.
The former head of Haringey social services said the world had been given the wrong impression by some elements of the media that she was not sorry or distressed by the death of the 17-month-old toddler.
She paid tribute to the "perseverance and commitment" of social workers, who she said had faced the most hostile public reaction ever seen in this country.
"What happened to Peter Connelly was absolutely devastating and I can tell you that there was never any question about me not feeling sorry or distressed about what happened to that little boy, never any question at all about what happened while I was director of one of the services that was there to protect him," she told a seminar on child protection held in London.
"But for the world to have been given - and I mean the world, because I was abused across the world - to have been given a different impression by some elements of the media was a very callous twist in the story."
She added that she "lived most days" in the knowledge that the whole story of what happened to the toddler will "eventually be told".
"We are not there yet, we are certainly not even near that yet," she said.
Ms Shoesmith said she believed the rise in the number of children being taken into care and subject to child protection plans since widespread publicity over the case had been caused by the reaction of politicians.
"I have seen that called 'the Baby P effect' and I hope that language goes," she said.
"For me, it wasn't 'the Baby P effect', for me it was the impact of the reaction of politicians and other senior leaders.
"What I am surprised about was, were they so naive?"
She added: "We still have the same rate of child homicide at the hands of their parents that has been with us for nearly 30 years."
She added that Government plans for full publication of Serious Case Reviews into the most notorious cases of child abuse risked exacerbating the "grubby reality" that child protection workers "run for cover" when things go wrong.
"The publication then of Serious Case Reviews might make them run even faster, we do not know yet, or it might simply make them obscure the story from their particular perspective that they might want to put forward."
Baby Peter died in August 2007 at the hands of his mother, Tracey Connelly, her lover, Steven Barker and their lodger, Jason Owen.
He had suffered 50 injuries despite receiving 60 visits from social workers, doctors and police over the final eight months of his life.
A series of reviews identified missed opportunities when officials could have saved Peter's life if they had acted properly on the warning signs in front of them.
Haringey Council sacked Ms Shoesmith without compensation in December 2008 after a damning inspectors' report found the local authority's child protection services were "inadequate".
A High Court judge earlier this year upheld a decision of former Children's Secretary Ed Balls to remove her from her child safety role with Haringey Council.
sportLiverpool 5 Norwich City 1: Uruguayan striker has now scored 11 league goals against the club
arts + entsOlivier-nominated actor and singer is set to star in Lloyd Webber's musical about the Profumo affair
filmWith more than 70 per cent of early films lost, archivists are scouring the world to preserve the precious examples that remain
sportThe coach of Chalfont St Peter's under-10s football team was relieved of his duties after he sent an email to parents that said: 'I am only interested in winning'
techA piece of new hi-tech kit aims to get us scribbling again
indybestMake getting out of the wrong side of bed on cold winter mornings a thing of the past with our selection of night-time covers
life + styleClarissa Baldwin is the brains behind the slogan 'A Dog is for Life not just for Christmas'
- 1 The hardwired difference between male and female brains could explain why men are 'better at map reading'
- 2 Is this the scariest advert ever? Japanese tyre commercial comes with its own disclaimer and health warning
- 3 UK chef creates world's most expensive ready meal - a fish pie costing £314
- 4 Food poverty in UK has reached level of 'public health emergency', warn experts
- 5 I’m sure Kate Moss doesn't care about posing for Playboy. But I do
£50000 - £70000 per annum + London: Harrington Starr: Senior Automation QA Eng...
£35000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits : Harrington Starr: SQL 2008 R2/2012 Deve...
£38000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Creative Audit Se...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: SQL Developer (TSQL, P...