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Social worker struck off for inappropriate communication with service users

Social worker exchanged sexually motivated messages with a male and female service user

Published on 30th May 2018

The Health and Care Professions Council has struck off a social worker who exchanged inappropriate personal communication with two service users.

Samantha Girt was employed as a senior practitioner at Milton Keynes Council when she had inappropriate communication with both a male and female service user.

During her employment, Miss Girt was allocated the case of Family A in June 2016 which included Service User A (SUA) who was in a relationship with Person C. Person C was under investigation by the police for accessing online material about the sexual abuse of children. SUA was pregnant and also had 3 other children. It is alleged that during the time that Miss Girt was allocated to Family A, she acted inappropriately towards SUA by breaching professional boundaries.

A panel of the HCPTS heard that whilst allocated as the social worker for Family A, Miss Girt hugged Service User A and touched her knee. Following her removal as the allocated social worker Miss Girt exchanged inappropriate personal communications of a sexual nature with Service User A.

Witness 3 stated in his witness statement that on 28 October 2016 he took possession of a memory stick from Witness 2  which contained images of “Whatsapp” communications between SUA and the Miss Girt. Witness 3 also stated in his witness statement that in November 2016 he took possession of SUA’s mobile phone so that its content could be downloaded.

He viewed “Whatsapp” messages between SUA and Miss Girt and found 1424 messages were sent between 12 September to 14 October 2016. Having read these messages, the HCPTS Panel was satisfied that having been removed from the case of Family A, Miss Girt maintained an inappropriate relationship with SUA, in that she exchanged inappropriate personal communications of a sexual nature with SUA. The messages include references to sexual acts and other sexualised references.

Furthermore, the Panel further heard that Miss Girt established an inappropriate relationship with Service User B by sending him inappropriate emails of a personal nature.

Witness 3 confirmed that he attended the council’s offices  he reviewed Miss Girt’s emails in her Outlook folders and identified emails between Miss Girt and SUB between 10 August and 28 September 2017. The emails refer to Miss Girt’s requests to see SUB outside of work, referring to having a relationship with him which goes beyond a professional relationship.

She also requested to see SUB’s children, and expressed a desire to spend time with them and give them presents. Having read these emails, the Panel was satisfied on the balance of probabilities that between these dates Miss Girt established an inappropriate personal relationship with SUB in that she sent him inappropriate emails of a personal nature.

The panel noted that while Miss Girt was of previous good character with no previous regulatory findings against her, the sexually motivated “Whatsapp” messages and the video sent to SUA and the sexually motivated emails sent to SUB were part of a deliberate, persistent course of conduct indicative of an attitudinal issue.

Panel Chair Marian Killen said: “In Miss Girt’s case, not only was there dishonesty but also persistent and sustained sexually motivated conduct in breach of professional boundaries. There is no evidence of insight or remediation, and as such the Panel took the view that there is an unwillingness on Miss Girt’s part to remediate her misconduct.”

The Panel ordered for the name of Samantha Allison Girt to be struck off the HCPC Register. Miss Girt was neither present nor represented at the hearing.

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