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02 SEP 2008

Social worker banned after inappropriate sexual relationship

A social worker from Hassocks, West Sussex has been barred from the profession after an independent committee of the General Social Care Council (GSCC) found he had breached the code of practice.

During a two-day hearing held in London, the committee heard that Eogain Gallagher, 61, listed membership of the London Centre for Psychotherapy (LCP) on an application form for a social work position at West Sussex County Council. However, it later emerged that the LCP had found misconduct against Mr Gallagher in 2004 for engaging in a sexual relationship with a former client whilst he was practising as a psychotherapist and his membership was revoked.

When considering the allegation of dishonesty in relation to the application form, the committee said the fact that it was a deliberate act which enabled him to obtain employment was an aggravating factor. With regards to the inappropriate relationship, the committee took into consideration the vulnerability of the victim who was a former client. The committee said the relationship was an abuse of Gallagher's professional position as a psychotherapist and noted his lack of insight into the fact that the relationship was inappropriate and significant in relation to his subsequent work as a social worker. Removal from the register means that Gallagher will not be able to practise as a social worker or as a social work student.

Sir Rodney Brooke, Chair of the GSCC, said: Because of the nature of social work, which can involve close contact with some extremely vulnerable people, it is imperative that social workers behave appropriately and honestly. We have to ensure that only people of good character and conduct are able to practice in social work and will take action against those who do not adhere to the Code of Practice for Social Care Workers.

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