Arthur Labinjo-Hughes: social workers ‘called names, assaulted and spat at’ in the street over case
Arthur Labinjo-Hughes was murdered by his stepmother Emma Tustin, and it emerged although he was seen by social workers prior to his death there were ‘no safeguarding’ concerns
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Social workers have reportedly been assaulted, faced verbal abuse and even been spat at in the street in the aftermath of the Arthur Labinjo-Hughes case.
Arthur, 6, from Solihull in the West Midlands, was murdered by his stepmother Emma Tustin who had carried out a campaign of cruelty against him.
The 32-year-old was jailed for at least 29 years, while her partner, Arthur’s father Thomas Hughes, 29, who was convicted of manslaughter for encouraging the killing, was sentenced to 21 years.
Tustin carried out the assault which left Arthur with an unsurvivable brain injury on 16 June in the hallway of her Cranmore Road home in Solihull.
Arthur, whose body was also covered in 130 bruises, died in hospital the next day (17 June).
He had been seen by social workers just two months before his death, but they concluded there were “no safeguarding concerns”.
The Government has confirmed there will be a major review into the circumstances which led to his death.
‘It’s a very difficult climate we work in’
It has now emerged that social workers have been subjected to name calling, and assaults as a result of the case and It is understood a social worker was spat at in the street.
Jenny Turnross director of practice at Birmingham Children’s Trust told BirminghamLive: “There have been reported incidents of social workers being called names and assaulted in the street. I can confirm that.”
When she was asked if a direct connection could be made between the Arthur case and these alleged incidents, she said: “Yes it can because those are the conversations that are taking place in our communities at the moment.
“Everybody is very distressed and saddened by what’s happened to Arthur so yes we can make that connection.
“Only today (December 10), our lead member for children’s staff has spoken to staff about having zero tolerance to our staff being harmed and threatened. It’s a very difficult climate that we work in.”
Ms Turnross urged people to support social workers.
‘Social workers do not have the power to remove children’
“People see these beautiful pictures of Arthur and think ‘how can professionals and organisations allow something like to happen to this child’.
“But what they don’t see is the thousands of children we support and keep safe. They don’t see that because, unfortunately, the good news doesn’t really travel.
“It’s really such a shame, the public doesn’t understand that social workers do not have the power to remove children.
“Our job is to go and investigate and write up our findings. If we are concerned, we put that information to the court or to the police.”
The review announced by the Government will aim to determine what improvements are needed by the agencies that came into contact with Arthur in the months before he was murdered by stepmother Emma Tustin at their home in Solihull.
The National Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel will lead the review and will provide additional support to Solihull Children’s Safeguarding Partnership to “upgrade” the already existing local review which was launched shortly after Arthur’s death in June 2020.
A targeted area inspection will be also commissioned and led jointly by Ofsted, the Care Quality Commission, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services and HM Inspectorate of Probation.
It will consider what improvements are needed by all agencies who protect vulnerable children in Solihull, including how they work together.
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