Islington social worker escapes sack for wife attack

A SENIOR social worker who assaulted his wife has escaped being thrown out of his profession after she spoke up for him.

Luke Taruvinga, who is deputy team manager of Islington Council’s social care team, was hauled before the General Social Care Council (GSCC) after it came to light that he had attacked his wife in July 2008 and threw her mobile phone down the toilet.

Taruvinga was cautioned by police at the time of the incident but told them he was unemployed - then failed to inform the GSCC after he decided to come clean to Islington Council.

But he was let him off with an admonishment after his wife and colleagues testified that he is a good husband, father and social worker.

The report of the GSCC misconduct hearing said: “The committee concluded that what had occurred represented unacceptable behaviour and must not happen again. The assault on his wife was of particular concern, but the committee was reassured by the insight shown by the registrant in this regard.

“The registrant made admissions in interview and demonstrated remorse for his behaviour. He described his actions as despicable and that he was totally ashamed of how he had treated his wife.

“The registrant has since remained with the same, very supportive, employer and progressed in his career. The committee has been shown a number of testimonials and references that speak very highly of the registrant’s dedication and professionalism at work. In addition, the committee has seen a letter from the registrant’s wife, who describes him as a very good husband and father and that they remain firmly together. The tenor of her letter suggests that this was an isolated incident.”

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Taruvinga admitted assault, criminal damage, giving false information to police, and failure to disclose information to his employers and the GSCC at his hearing last week. But the committee ruled that his behaviour caused no harm to service users.

“The committee decided that the offending behaviour was at the lower end of the spectrum,” the report said. “Account was taken of the registrant’s previous 10 years unblemished work record and his current good work history. The committee was satisfied that there was a low risk of recurrence and that an admonishment provides sufficient public protection as far as the registrant’s suitability is concerned. The committee is confident that his continued practice would not represent a risk to the public or service users.”

Councillor Richard Watts, Islington Council’s executive member for children and young people, said: “Any offence by a member of council staff is taken extremely seriously.

“In this case an internal investigation was carried out and disciplinary action taken. The council also referred the matter to the GSCC, as required.

“The GSCC makes it clear that there is no suggestion that this incident in any way directly or indirectly caused harm to service users.”