The story of Carina Burn is one, which every trainee social worker and department for social care should familiarise themselves with if only to understand how not to deal with allegations of abuse.
Carina Burn was a 19-year-old with autism when she was removed from her family and allegedly kept away from them in a secure unit for six months when false allegations of sexual abuse were made against her parents Julia and Robin Burn. What followed was akin to what the Sunday Express has called ‘Child Snatching’.
The family’s lives were torn apart when carers said that Carina had made what are now known to be false allegations against Mr and Mrs Burn including rape. As a result of legal help and expert witness statements the allegations were all found to be based on a false premise.
Speaking to Llanelli Online today, Sunday (Jul 16) Robin Burn said that his family were still suffering as a result of the treatment at the hands of the County Council and the Dyfed-Powys Police.
The catalogue of errors on the part of all concerned is worthy of a manual on how ‘not to’ deal with allegations against carers or parents of children. It is understood that the case has set precedents in case law for a number of reasons, some of which we are not at liberty to divulge.
We can say that one precedent was the payment of damages to Carina, the first such payment from a police force in a civil case.
In total damages of £30,000 were paid out by Dyfed-Powys Police, Carmarthenshire County Council and psychiatrist Dr Rowan Wilson. Mr Burn says that the money is now in a trust fund for Carina.
Mrs Burn told Llanelli Online that the failures had caused Carina to be unlawfully deprived of her liberty contrary to Article 5 (European Court of Human Rights) and Article 8, ECHR, (her right to respect for her private and family life).
Despite the overwhelming evidence supporting their legal action Mr and Mrs Burn say they were ‘let down’ by all agencies responsible for protecting vulnerable adults and the public, including various firms of solicitors and a barrister.
In a stark warning to others Mr and Mrs Burn said:
It is imperative that elected County Councillors in Carmarthenshire understand their duty to run the council rather than unelected officers, for the benefit of the electorate and that the Welsh Assembly Government effectively scrutinise and intervene when necessary.
The case has drawn attention from one national newspaper and Sky News however it has been conspicuously absent from Welsh Regional news outlets.
Mr Burn gave Llanelli Online an exclusive filmed interview, which you can view here soon.