A former Met police child abuse investigator cited her shock at the lack of understanding surrounding child abuse as the reason she started an education and consultancy business addressing the issue.

Pam Williams, of Mayfield Road in Chingford, worked in the child abuse investigation team for a decade and, having taken early retirement in January, started Child Protection Training Ltd because, she said, she was frustrated by occasional bad practice.

She said social workers should not be criticised but added that severe cutbacks in social health can result in overworked and burnt-out staff.

The 57-year-old mother-of-three and grandmother-of-two said: “I’m not saying it’s right across the board, but they’re thrown into the deep end and not enough training is given to them.

“Some of the things I noticed I was shocked at the level of lack of understanding in social workers, which really concerns me.

“After the Jimmy Savile case our workload rose by 200 per cent and we couldn’t cope, so I came to the conclusion that there was a call for a solution.”

British Association of Social Workers spokeswoman Nushra Mansuri acknowledged difficulties in the sector due to cutbacks and said Mrs Williams’ constructive approach should be welcomed.

“We have got too many social workers carrying too many cases and that’s very risky, some can’t be as effective as we would like,” she said.

“But in spite of the pressures social workers do a good job, against the odds sometimes.

“But that doesn’t mean we are closed minded and can’t hear criticisms because it is about children in the end.”

Mrs Williams hopes to train professionals from all sectors who interact with children to recognise signs of issues including sexual abuse, cyber bullying and grooming.

Using qualifications from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children she will deliver half- and full-day training courses.

She said: “We’re all responsible and we’re all accountable so don’t look away.”