Support worker helping violence-affected kids hit colleague in face

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A SUPPORT worker whose job included helping children exposed to violence challenged a colleague to a fight and hit him in the face.

Gordon Riach has been struck off after asking his coworker to step outside and then “striking or slapping” him in the face.

At the time he was employed as a support worker in Montrose, Angus, and worked in a secure unit for vulnerable youngsters.

He was hauled in front of the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) to answer for his actions.

The SSSC panel decided to remove Mr Riach from the register
The SSSC panel decided to remove Mr Riach from the register

And the panel decided to remove him from the register after deeming his behaviour “fundamentally incompatible” with the profession.

At the hearing, which took place in Dundee, Mr Riach faced two charges.

The first read that on about 6 July 2015, whilst employed by the Rossie Young People’s Trust as a Residential Support Worker, he “behaved in a threatening manner towards your colleague AA in that you did challenge him to a fight outside”.

The second charge states that he did “strike or slap your colleague AA in the face” and in doing so “caused harm and/or placed AA at risk of harm”.

Mr Riach admitted the facts early on in the investigation, and demonstrated regret to his colleague “immediately after” the incident.

Unacceptable

The panel ruled: “Your behaviour in challenging your colleague to a fight and then physically striking him across the face constituted a failure to treat your colleague with dignity and respect.

“It demonstrated an unacceptable disregard for your colleague, was a misuse of power and position and was behaviour which was incompatible with a person registered with the Council.

“The misconduct took place at work – a secure unit for troubled and vulnerable children, some of whom may have been exposed to violence in the past.”

The SSSC panel also ruled that there was risk of harm to a female service user who had overheard the incident between the colleagues.

They decided the most appropriate sanction would be to remove Mr Riach from the register, meaning that he will be unable to return to work in the profession.

They said: “Given the factors in this case, there appears that there is a risk that violent behaviour in the workplace will occur again in the future.”

Mr Riach consented to the removal order, which came into effect at the beginning of this week.

Rossie Young People’s Trust head of operations David Mitchell said: “Rossie Young People’s Trust does not comment on matters relating to individual members of staff.”

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