Sharon Shoesmith: Learning from Baby P

Wednesday 17th May 
Written by Alice Mason

Sharon Shoesmith became the nation’s scapegoat when the Baby P case came to light. 

Peter Connelly died in 2006 after suffering more than 50 injuries when he was just 17 months old. Sharon Shoesmith and her team of social workers were put under extreme scrutiny. Because of this incredibly public case, Labour Minister Ed Balls, fired her on live TV. 

Held at The Women’s Organisation, the audience were primarily women, a majority were even social workers. There was a sense of unity in the room. Calmness even. 

Haringey’s former director of Haringey’s Children’s Services Sharon Shoesmith was in conversation with Maggie O'Carroll talked about in detail the scrutiny of the press, how her life changed afterwards and the general cuts being made to social care. 

Shoesmith also talked openly about the amount of criticism social workers receive on a daily basis. She told the audience that she was even photoshopped during the case to look more stern and guilty. 

Learning from Baby P is a book came from her PhD studies. The book itself focuses on the psychological and political themes of the case and what it means for child protection professionals and the media.

Social workers are trained incredibly well but are overworked and cuts made to this sector help no-one - not the children, or the parents, not even the professsional themselves. Sharon Shoesmith continues to run workshops and present talks.