A former child care worker has been awarded damages after her employers failed to protect her from being attacked by a teenager.
Ms Glynda Robinson, 60, worked for the Greenacre Children’s Unit in Crawley, West Sussex, as a senior child care officer. From 2000 onwards, the centre began to admit children who were highly disturbed, which often manifested itself in violent behaviour.
The attack, which occurred in February 2003, was made by a teenager who had already assaulted every other member of staff at the unit. The staff had made repeated written and verbal complaints, to the managers of the unit, about the teenager. Unfortunately, no steps were taken to remedy the situation.
It was only because of another person’s intervention that Ms Robinson escaped having a broken bottle pushed into her back. As a result of the assault, she suffered post traumatic disorder and loss of hair as well as a physical injury. She was subsequently unable to return to work and was retired on medical grounds.
West Sussex County Council initially denied any liability for the incident. After court proceedings were initiated, the Council still did not admit liability but an undisclosed sum of compensation was agreed.
All employers are obliged to provide the information, instruction, training and supervision necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that their employees can carry out their jobs safely. If a worker is placed in a dangerous situation, as happened here, they need to have been trained to deal with it. It was clear in this case that the management knew about the danger to staff and the risk of physical and mental injury was, therefore, foreseeable.
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