Abuse of trust by social workers should be reflected in criminal sentencing
Dino Nocivelli highlights abuse convictions that have involved social workers
Posted on 24 March 2023
A social worker should become involved in a child's life when a child is suffering or is at risk of suffering harm and dependent on the level of this harm a child may need to be taken into care to be looked after. This level of interference by the State into the life of a private individual is justified by the level of harm that is in place and the risk to a child's life.
As in other areas of society however, wherever an adult has been given a position of trust and power, there is a risk that this position will be abused and sadly it is no different when it involves social workers.
The most recent case involving child abuse by a social worker is Inderjit Kumar who was a social worker in Coventry.
Kumar has recently been convicted of three counts of indecent assault and two counts of cruelty to a child, and has received a seven-year prison sentence. Setting aside the depravity of the actual assaults inflicted by Kumar, the fact that he abused his position of trust as a social worker when these children were so vulnerable and in need of care and support compounds the impact of the abuse on his victims.
Sadly, this is not an isolated event and below are some others who have abused children through their positions as social workers and recently been convicted of the same:
• Walsall - Moses Reid
• Nuneaton - Robert Simms, 24-year prison sentence for rape and sexual assault
• Nottingham - Andris Logins, 20 year prison sentence for rape
• Nottingham - Myriam Bamkin, 2.5 year prison sentence for indecent assault
• Nottingham - Dean Gathercole, 19-year prison sentence for rape and indecent assault
• Cornwall - Chetin Hussyin, 14-year prison sentence for buggery and indecent assault
• Hereford - Michelle Baxter, 26 months for sex with someone in her care
• Worcester - David Corrick, 13 years for buggery and sexual assault
• Rochdale - James Peter Gavin, 17-year prison sentence for child abuse
It is important that that all survivors of abuse feel able to disclose their abuse and that social workers who abuse should receive an increased criminal punishment for abusing their position of trust.
I hope that councils will voluntarily step up to provide substantive apologies to the survivors and to also offer therapeutic and financial support although from my experience this does not happen. Instead it is left to survivors to try and deal with the impact of the abuse and also of the council's failings.
Why an apology for abuse is so important
As a lawyer who specialises in representing victims and survivors of child abuse and sexual abuse, I appreciate the importance of an apology from their abuser and/or the institution where the abuse took place.