Whistleblower speaks out about 'nightmare’ staff abuse in child care homes

A whistleblower has spoken out against abuse towards staff in Sheffield child care homes and a lack of support from management.

Tuesday, 10th September 2019, 5:40 pm
Updated Wednesday, 11th September 2019, 11:54 am
Staff said they felt vulnerable and unsupported by management

Broken teeth, bruises and mental scars are just some of the things they said staff had regularly suffered at residential homes across the city.

They said they were ‘slapped down’ if they raised an issue with management and that children were not being appropriately matched to homes.

As a result, they said staff felt vulnerable and that is was ‘about time’ the public knew.

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They said: “I like my job, there are some good children who need to be nurtured. But there is a complete lack of duty of care for staff… It’s an absolute nightmare.”

They said in one of many cases, a child only got a ‘slap on the wrist’ after they ‘beat up’ a member of staff who, as a result, became ‘frightened of their own shadow’.

On why they decided to remain anonymous they said: “They single us out and if you try to have a meeting about it you’re slapped down straight away. They already make my life hell.”

Coun Jackie Drayton, Sheffield Council’s cabinet member for children and families, said: “We take whistleblowing very seriously and we always investigate any claims made where staff say they feel unsafe and vulnerable at work or where they raise concerns about children and young people in our care.

“It is so important to make sure all vulnerable children and young people get the support they need and we work especially hard to make sure this happens. However it is also vital that our staff feel safe and supported in their working environment.

“We have risk assessments in place and we always work closely with staff and their trade unions so that the right provisions are in place for anyone who ever feels vulnerable at work.”

The council added that staff are supported to make claims if they experience violence at work.