Social worker wins £200,000 compensation award after assault

A social worker has won £200,000 in compensation from her
employers following a “vicious assault” which resulted
in her developing serious psychological injuries leaving her unable
to work, writes Alex Dobson.

The woman, who is in her 30s, worked for Swansea social services
and was attacked by a client in June 1998. Her litigation claim was
settled out of court before the hearing finished.

But Unison is highly critical of the way the council handled her
case. Unison’s head of local government in Wales, Paul
Elliott, said that if the local authority had listened to the
concerns of the social worker, the incident would not have

He said the client had previously threatened the woman and,
although managers knew this, she had been told to meet the
client alone at the council’s offices, where the assault took

“Money can never really compensate for the injuries that
this social worker suffered, or the fact that the social worker was
forced to give up a job she loved,” Elliot said.

A statement from the council said that everything possible was
done to protect staff from harm, and that it very much regretted
the assault that had taken place.

“Social workers have a difficult and demanding job. They
are required to work with vulnerable individuals who are invariably
under stress and who can behave unpredictably,” the statement

The council said all litigation claims were passed on to the
council’s insurers for resolution. It said the claim had been
vigorously defended, but that the parties had agreed to a
settlement prior to the completion of the hearing.

The social worker did not want to be named.

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