Senior social worker found to have abused ex-partner says he is ‘very sorry'
A senior social worker who is at the centre of a legal battle with a regulator after a family court judge found that he had assaulted and abused an ex-partner has said he is “very, very sorry”.
The man, who has had a lengthy social work career, told a High Court hearing on Thursday that he wanted to “learn” and “change”.
Judge Farooq Ahmed made a series of domestic abuse findings against the man, after a private family court hearing, but refused to give a regulatory body a copy of his ruling.
He decided that “disclosure” of the ruling to regulator Social Work England was “likely to be detrimental to the child's welfare”.
The man's ex-partner has challenged that decision and asked a more senior High Court judge to rule that Social Work England should get a copy of Judge Ahmed's ruling.
Social Work England also says it should be able to see the ruling.
The man disagrees and says Judge Ahmed was right not to hand the ruling to the regulator.
Mrs Justice Knowles finished arguments at a public appeal hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London on Thursday and is expected to deliver a ruling in the near future.
She was told how the man and woman were involved in a private family court dispute centred on the care of their child – and said the child could not be identified in media reports of the case.
Judge Ahmed, who is overseeing that dispute, has concluded that the man had: assaulted his ex-partner and fractured her hand, causing “lasting disability”; behaved in a way that amounted to “gaslighting, control and denigration”; used his temper to “frighten and control” her; “humiliated” her; been “verbally abusive” to her in front of their child; and hit the family dog in front of their child.
The man told Mrs Justice Knowles on Thursday that he did not expect sympathy.
“This is the hardest thing I dealt with in my life,” he said.
“I am not looking for sympathy.
“I don't expect that, given the findings of Judge Ahmed.”
The man added: “I am very, very sorry for what happened between myself and (the woman).”
He said: “I want to learn and reflect and change how I am as a person in the world.”
Barrister Charlotte Proudman, who represented the man's ex-partner, told Mrs Justice Knowles, in a written argument, that the man was a senior social worker who worked with vulnerable adults.
“This case is of significant public interest because it concerns the impact of findings of serious abuse on the employment of a parent who works with vulnerable people where safeguarding is a key issue,” she said.
“As a result of (Judge Ahmed) refusing to disclose the judgment to Social Work England, vulnerable people that the father is entrusted to care for could be at serious risk of harm under the father's care.”
She added: “How can Social Work England investigate and ensure that the potential risks are managed if the judgment is not disclosed?”
Barrister Jessica Purchase, who represented Social Work England, told Mrs Justice Knowles that Social Work England had received a referral “raising a concern” about the man's fitness to practise.
She said the man was “under investigation”.
Ms Purchase added: “(Judge Ahmed) failed to take into account the enormous public interest in Social Work England being able to properly protect vulnerable adults and children from social workers who are not fit to practise.”
The man, who represented himself, says Judge Ahmed's decision should be upheld.
“As the judge who has a full knowledge of the facts and dynamics of this case, I submit that he has not erred in his assessment,” he told Mrs Justice Knowles.
“As such, the honourable judge is the best-placed authority in determining a judgment upon the sharing of findings and it is this judgment that should be upheld and deferred to in this case.”
He told Mrs Justice Knowles that Judge Ahmed's findings were “very, very hard”.
But he said he accepted them and had “taken measures” to “do something about it”.