A local authority care worker who was attacked and injured by a resident in a respite care facility has received compensation from Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council. The woman, from Mid Glamorgan, was supported throughout her claim by her trade union UNISON and union law firm Thompsons Solicitors.

The woman, aged 43, was employed by the council as a care worker at a respite care facility for people with a learning disability, most of whom also have physical disabilities and high dependency needs. She was working with a colleague to lower a young male resident into a chair using a hoist when the resident struck her in the face.

The woman explains: “Whilst transferring the young man from the bed into his wheelchair using an overhead hoist, he punched me in the face. I suffered a fractured nose and shock. I have been unable to return to work at the home since.”

Employer did not give adequate protection to worker

The victim, who has received over £5,000 compensation for her injuries and loss of earnings, had previously asked managers that she be given the appropriate support from male staff when dealing with the resident. She concludes: “I’m angry because there had been previous incidents with other colleagues. The young man would use very threatening and aggressive behaviour. This resident’s aggressive behaviour was known about. I do not think my employer gave me adequate protection from assault.”

Sharon Jones, Branch Secretary at UNISON, which supported her claim throughout said: “Care workers like this particular member put themselves at risk on a daily basis as they assist patients in need. It is the employers who clearly have a duty of care to protect their staff and ensure that they are not put in additional danger. We are pleased with the outcome of this case and hope that it serves as a warning to other employers.”

Representing the woman, Clare Nash from Thompsons Solicitors in Cardiff, said: “Sadly this case further illustrates the dangers that the caring profession faces. During supervision sessions, our client had raised her concerns about working with the young man due to his violent nature. She requested that appropriate male staff support be available and her manager had agreed with this and that a management plan and risk assessment would be put in place.”