Cambridge-based social worker ‘abused woman’

A senior social worker abused his position and ruined a woman’s life after he had children with her while he was supposed to be dealing with her case.

The man known only as Mr Z was accused of a series of abuses against the woman, known as Ms X, including fathering two children by him.

Mr Z was working as part of a Cambridge-based social worker team but was later moved to Sawston a panel heard.

The General Social Care Council committee today found all the allegations against Mr Z had been proven.

Richard Noble, a project worker for the mental health out reach team, encouraged Ms X to report the abuse of Mr Z, the misconduct hearing was told.

He said he was shocked and appalled by Mr Z’s “immoral” actions and believed some of his colleagues in social services were aware of the abuse.

Mr Noble said: “I was shocked. In my opinion it can never be right. It is an abusive of power and immoral. It makes me sick to think that all of this was going on.”

“I later found out that there had been continued rumours in the department that had led to Mr Z being moved to Sawston.”

He said Ms X had a total breakdown after reporting the case and was bent on self-destruction – starving herself, bleaching her skin and self-harming.

She was hospitalised again in February 2007.

Mr Noble, who has 14 years of experience within social services, said: “Mr Z destroyed all chances of of her being able to deal with social services again, she has lost all trust.”

Vaness Gibney, social care professional lead for Cambridge and Peterborough Foundation Trust, said Mr Z was a senior social worker within the South Rural Community Mental Health Team.

Ms Gibney told the hearing Mr Z had also had affairs with other social workers.

She said: “It came to light that he had affairs with two other social workers, one of which worked for children and family services for the Cambridge County Council.”

He worked with people aged 18-65 who suffered acute to severe and enduring mental health problems.

Ms Gibney called Mr Z into a meeting as soon as she was informed of the allegations.

She said Mr Z came prepared. She said his first response was to say, “I’ve been expecting your call”.

He had his case files with him so that he could hand them over.

Ms Gibney added: “I was shocked and angry that a colleague could have breached Ms X’s trust and that as a professional he had let down himself, his family, his colleagues and his profession.”

She formally suspended him on full pay on December 12, 2006 for gross misconduct.

On July 6 2007 Cambridge and Peterborough Foundation Trust – the body responsible for the discipline of the social workers within Cambridgeshire – dismissed Mr Z following a disciplinary hearing. Ms Gibney said Mr Z tried to pass the blame onto his colleagues.

She said: “He tried to exonerate himself by saying somebody should have known.”

Pc Emma Beart of Cambridgeshire Police led the police investigation which began in December 2006 and concluded in September 2007.

A case file was submitted to the CPS but no charges were brought. Mr Z was arrested on January 5 under the Sexual Offences Act and questioned by officers, the hearing heard.

Pc Beart said Mr Z could not be prosecuted because he had stopped his professional relationship with Ms X just four months before new legislation came into place.

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire County Council said Mr Z was called-in and suspended on the day they were informed.

The spokesman said: “Mr Z was called in and immediately suspended on full pay. After the police investigation was finished in September 2007, he was dismissed.”

Chair of the committee George Davies said: “We found that Ms X gave credible and cogent evidence.

“Her response provided to the police, social services and the GSCC has remained consistent.

“We are satisfied on the balance of probability that the facts were provided.”