Social worker convicted of sexual activity with young girl struck off

Stephen Snook said he had been expected to manage an “unrealistically high” caseload, but the Health and Care Professions Council found his offence too serious for any sanction other than removal from the register.

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A social worker convicted of engaging in sexual activity with a 16-year-old girl in his care has been struck off by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

Steven Thomas Snook was convicted at Canterbury Crown Court on 30 April 2012 of engaging in sexual activity with a child in September 2011, at a time when he was in a position of trust in relation to the girl.

Snook admitted the offence. He was made subject to a two-year community sentence and supervision order, with a condition to complete the Thames Valley Sex Offender Treatment Programme and sign the Sex Offenders Register for five years. His marriage ended and he lost his job.

Snook attended the HCPC’s hearing on Monday and accepted that his fitness to practise as a social worker had been impaired.

He said he was a newly qualified social worker with very limited previous experience and had been expected to manage an unrealistically high caseload of demanding young clients. He recognised his wrongdoing.

However, the HCPC’s panel chair, Graham Aitken, called the offence “a single but very serious breach of both professional standards and the criminal law”. There would be a level of risk for female service users including adults if Snook were to return to practice, he added.

Snook is not currently working as a social worker. It was suggested on his behalf that a suitable sanction might be a condition that he not work with young people.

But the panel said all service users were vulnerable people; it happened to be a young woman who was the victim in these crown court proceedings, but the panel was not satisfied that only young people would be at future risk from Snook.

The panel was not persuaded that the social worker had demonstrated full insight into the seriousness of his offence.

It decided removal from the register was the appropriate sanction.

Read the full notice of decision

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