AN inexperienced social worker who did not seek help when a seven-year old boy revealed that his father had beaten him with a battery has been allowed to continue working.

Klaudeta Risto will be allowed to continue in the profession, with conditions on her practice, following the incident in Sunderland last year.

The Health and Care Professions Council heard that Mrs Risto was concerned to keep the family unit together and did not report the incident.

Mrs Risto, the panel heard, was working for Sunderland City Council in February when the boy told a teacher that his father had hit him and slapped his mother.

Child A had no visible marks on him and asked Mrs Risto not to tell his parents. Rather than employing child protection measures to ensure the boy was kept safe, Mrs Risto spoke to his mother two days later and asked his teacher to keep an eye on him.

Mrs Risto's shortcomings only came to light when a random audit was carried out the following month.

HCPC panel chairman Ian Griffiths said: "The Panel considered that Mrs Risto allowed her commitment to maintain a positive relationship with Child A’s family and with Child A himself to cloud her objectivity and professional judgement in risk assessment.

"In doing so she had allowed an emotional response to override her responsibility to take appropriate and immediate action to report and address the matter."

Mrs Risto qualified as a social worker just over a year earlier and it was her first solo child protection case.

Mr Griffiths said: "The panel accepts that Mrs Risto has shown a degree of remorse and has taken some positive steps to improve her professional knowledge of child protection and safeguarding".

He added: "The panel is satisfied from all that it has heard that the misconduct in this case is capable of correction and that appropriate, realistic and verifiable conditions can be formulated in this case".

Mrs Risto was given a conditions of practise order for two years, which means she must demonstrate "an appropriate and effective professional response towards real situations rather than the emotional response which she adopted in this case", before she is allowed to return to unrestricted practice.