A social worker appearing before a General Social Care Council conduct committee has denied claims that she asked a child to show her a scratch near her genital area.
Mabel Rose, who qualified in 2004, was an agency social worker at Lewisham Council, in south east London, at the time of the alleged incident. Her contract was later terminated.
She was dealing with a child protection case, involving a six-year-old girl, in late November 2006. The child’s mother had weeks earlier alleged that the girl, known as child C, had disclosed abuse by her father and showed another social worker, Marinda Beaton, evidence on a mobile phone.
The case was given to Rose after the mother refused to work with Beaton.
During a home visit in December 2006, in which Rose interviewed the child alone, the committee was told that she saw a scratch on the child’s face, was told by the child about another one on her genital area, and then asked to see it.
It was also claimed that the following day she told three colleagues what she had done though not referrals and assessment manager Ian Smith. She later told him that the child had voluntarily revealed the scratch, the committee heard.
Smith told the hearing that anyone with basic social work training should know that it is not appropriate to physically examine a child. “I would have expected her to suspend the interview and I would have expected her to call the office,” said Smith.
He added: “I was sorry to see Mabel go as she was well-liked. I felt a bit sorry for her as everyone makes mistakes but this was a serious mistake.”
Pam Harmer, Rose’s then line manager, told the hearing that the social worker had been nervous about interviewing the child. “In hindsight I realise that though Mabel had five years’ experience I may have incorrectly assumed she was more experienced in conducting interviews with children than she actually was,” she told the committee.
The hearing continues.