A social worker has been struck off for having a sexual relationship with a service user’s vulnerable mother.
The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) stated that the worker used their professional position for their own “sexual and personal gain”, adding that the mum continues to suffer emotional harm due to their actions.
The relationship was said to have taken place between March and November 2016.
During that time the social worker – whose details have been redacted by the SSSC – shared personal information about themselves to the mum.
They also repeatedly phoned and sent text messages to the woman without a professional reason to do so, and then failed to officially record said communication.
As well as sending a postcard and birthday card, the social worker also sent a personal card to the mum congratulating her for being “clean for a year”.
In a written ruling published this month, the SSSC found the social worker’s fitness to practise impaired.
The watchdog stated: “Social service workers are entrusted with privileges that are provided to them on the understanding that they will use them for legitimate purposes and in a professional capacity.
“You engaged in a sexual relationship with BB, who had become known to you during your professional duties towards AA, their daughter.
“You would have been aware that BB was a vulnerable adult and used your professional position for your own sexual and personal gain.
“Your actions caused and continue to cause emotional harm to BB.”
The SSSC stated that sharing personal information with the woman would have created confusion and unrealistic expectations of the professional relationship.
On sending the personal cards, the watchdog said it demonstrated a “clear breach of professional boundaries”.
The SSSC added: “The behaviour occurred over several months, suggesting a pattern of behaviour and an inability to adhere to your professional obligations.
“Your behaviour is serious, falling far short of what would be expected of you and breaching fundamental tenets of the profession.
“There are significant public protection risks associated with your conduct.”
Although the social worker accepted part of their behaviour, the SSSC said they had demonstrated “limited insight, remorse or reflection”.
The watchdog noted: “There was no evidence that you had attempted to remedy your behaviour or assurances that the behaviour would not be repeated.”
In conclusion, the watchdog said a removal order was the “most appropriate sanction” to maintain the “continuing trust and confidence in the social service profession and the SSSC as the regulator of the profession”.
The removal order came into effect on January 7.