A SALTCOATS carer convicted of assaulting and injuring a child after leaving bruises on the youngster in her care was let off with a warning from the watchdog.

Helen Holt avoided removal from the Scottish Social Services Council [SSSC] register after she was convicted of assault to injury on a child at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court on May 20.

The residential child care worker was given a warning on her registration for four years – after Holt promptly informed two colleagues after bruising the child.

The regulator’s decision noted that the “highly serious” incident was a “spontaneous response” to unexpected violence from the youngster and added that Holt made no attempt to conceal her


The SSSC said: “You have been convicted of assault to injury (child) which is highly serious. Following the incident, you immediately informed two of your colleagues about what had occurred. Your employer commenced an investigation and you were reported to, and subsequently charged by the police. You plead guilty to the charge of assault to injury (child) at the earliest opportunity.

“As a social service worker, You are expected to uphold public trust and confidence in social services. Service users are entitled to feel safe and confident that they can rely on social care workers to remain in control of their behaviour and not to abuse or harm service users.

“Your behaviour posed a serious risk of physical and emotional harm to a young and vulnerable service user. You would be expected to role model good behaviour to service users and to form relationships of trust with them.

“Your behaviour is a highly serious breach of these obligations. The conduct occurred within work and was highly serious. The behaviour had the potential to result in serious physical and emotional harm to a vulnerable service user. The behaviour in fact appears to have caused bruising and upset to the service user.”

Noting factors in her favour, the SSSC added: “You have expressed a detailed level of insight, regret and apology. You had had a long and unblemished record in social care prior to the incident. The behaviour appears to have been an isolated incident in a long career.

“The circumstances of the behaviour were mitigating in that the behaviour appears to have been a spontaneous response to unanticipated violence from the service user. Your actions do not appear to have been motivated by any deliberate malice on your part.

“You made no attempt to conceal your wrongdoing, instead opting to self-report the incident to your employer. You have meaningfully cooperated with the SSSC from the outset of the investigation and admitted the allegations at the earliest opportunity.”