Social Workers ‘Spat At’ In Street As Anger Over Arthur Labinjo-Hughes Case Grows

Siobahn Benita/Paul Waugh/Twitter

A number of social workers have allegedly been assaulted and ‘spat at’ in the street as anger grows over the devastating case of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes.

Six-year-old Arthur was murdered by his stepmother Emma Tustin at their Solihull home on June 16, 2020.

Tustin, 32, who banged the child’s head in such a way that he was left with an ‘unsurvivable’ head injury, was convicted of murder and sentenced to 29 years in prison earlier this month. Arthur’s father, Thomas Hughes, 29, was also sentenced to 21 years after being found guilty of manslaughter.

 Arthur Labinjo-Hughes (Alamy)Alamy

In the months leading up to his death, Arthur was tortured, beaten, and poisoned with salt by his father and stepmother, with bruising left on his body.

Tragically, social workers and police officers reportedly missed a number of opportunities to save Arthur’s life, dismissing desperate pleas from other family members, who were even threatened with arrest under lockdown rules.

Last week, chief executive of Birmingham Children’s Trust, Andy Couldrick, urged people against demonising social workers who had put their own safety at risk by continuing with face to face home visits during lockdown, telling Birmingham Live, ‘I am so proud of our staff.’

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes (Alamy)Alamy

However, Couldrick’s colleague Jenny Turnross said there have been a number of incidents where social workers have been assaulted in the street, including one instance where a social worker was spat at.

Turnross, who works as the Director of Practice at Birmingham Children’s Trust, told Birmingham Live:

There have been reported incidents of social workers being called names and assaulted in the street. I can confirm that.

When asked whether connections could be made between these alleged incidents and the public reaction to Arthur’s murder, Turnross 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.

Turnross has now urged people to show support for social workers, saying, ‘What they don’t see is the thousands of children we support and keep safe.’

If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence regarding the welfare of a child, contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000, 8am–10pm Monday to Friday, 9am–6pm weekends. If you are a child seeking advice and support, call Childline for free on 0800 1111

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