A social worker who last worked as Head of Learning Disabilities for Hampshire County Council has been struck off after pleading guilty to viewing two category A child sexual abuse movies and two category C child sexual abuse images.
Simon J Cartland was employed by Hampshire County Council at the time he viewed the sexual abuse of children and notified his employer that he was being charged with the crimes on the 28th March 2018. In a letter sent to the council following the charges he said:
“I am ashamed to report to you that I accept both charges against me, as I was solely responsible for downloading and viewing all four images.
The realisation and horror of the absolute hurt, anger and deep pain that I have caused my husband, family and friends and no doubt work colleagues, in addition to those service users I have served in Hampshire, is and will be immeasurable and understandably will always remain”
“Furthermore I fully accept that my behaviour has perpetrated the on going harm and abuse of children and though I am engulfed in feelings of utter remorse and shame, I am committed to face the consequences of my actions and will reflect and learn from them until the day I die”
“Similarly I acknowledge that my behaviour and actions constitutes a complete breach of trust, values and professional responsibilities, including that of a Social Worker and as a senior leader and employee of Hampshire Adults’ Health and Care and is equally an absolute breach of standards of the Health and Care Professions Council”
Simon Cartland pleaded guilty to the charges against him and was convicted of viewing the sexual abuse of children at Guildford Magistrates’ Court in May 2018.
He was sentenced to a Community Order with a Rehabilitation Activity Requirement and an Unpaid Work Requirement (80 hours) for a period of 12 months. He was also made subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for five years and was required to register with the police in accordance with the Sexual Offences Act 2003 for the same time period.
The Category A images that Cartland admitted to viewing are defined by the COPINE sexual abuse scale as involving “images of penetrative sexual activity of children”.
Carland admitted he viewed two movies of this type of child sexual abuse.
Children being sexually penetrated.
He was sentenced to 80 hours of unpaid work requirement, also known as community service.
Ten months after his guilty plea and subsequent conviction, he has now been struck off by the HCPC.
At his final hearing, the HCPC reported that he self-referred to them after he was convicted of viewing sexual abuse images. In an email sent to the HCPC he explained:
“My behaviour in downloading and viewing the four indecent images, not only is a complete breach of HCPC professional standards, but is a shameful failure of the values and principles regarding human rights and anti-discrimination practice that were central to my practice, leadership and personal life”
“I fully accept that there is only one right outcome to your investigation, for me to be struck off. As for the future, I will forever be honest about the harm that I’ve caused, and in addition will be candid and open regarding the deep remorse of my behaviour regarding this offence”
In removing Simon Cartland from the social work register for the life, the HCPC hearing ruled that:
‘Striking off is a sanction of last resort for serious, deliberate or reckless acts involving abuse of trust such as, sexual abuse, dishonesty or persistent failure”
‘The HCPC considers that any offence relating to child sexual abuse imagery involves some degree of exploitation or abuse of a child and, therefore, that conviction for such an offence is a serious matter which undermines the public’s trust in registrants and public confidence in the profession concerned”
Speaking to local press, a spokesperson for Hampshire County Council said:
“We understand that Simon Cartland has been struck off as a registered social worker by the Health and Care Professions Tribunal Service”
“The offences to which he pleaded guilty and which were considered by the tribunal were unconnected to his work at the county council – and he no longer works for the authority”