Edinburgh based care organisation fined £20,000 after service user raped an employee
The Action Group, who provide support to children and adults, has been fined after the HSE investigated how risks to staff were assessed, following an attack on an employee by one of its service users.
Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard that on 27th December 2018, at a domestic property in Edinburgh, a female employee of the Action Group visited a male adult service user who had additional support needs. During the course of the visit, the employee was abducted, assaulted, sexually assaulted and raped.
The HSE’s investigation (prompted by the police investigation into the attack) found that the Action Group failed to carry out a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks posed by this service user in relation to the safety of their female employees. This was despite evidence indicating that support staff had raised safety concerns about this particular service user as early as 1994.
The Action Group admitted breaching regulation 3(1)(a) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, and section 2(1) and 33(1)(c) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and were fined £20,000.
Following the hearing the HSE Inspector remarked that the case could have been avoided had there been ‘a suitable assessment of the risks, particularly those posed to female members of staff’ and, that ‘had the behaviours of the service user been addressed, appropriate control measures and safe working practices could have been adopted to reduce the risk to all staff’.
A separate prosecution against the service user led by Police Scotland and The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service was completed in 2019. The service user was sentenced to eight years imprisonment.
It has been reported that since the attack the Action Group have implemented new lone-working procedures and carried out a review of individual risk assessments for service users to identify potential risks and any additional control measures required.
If you have any questions on any of the issues raised in the above article, please contact Gary Foggo.