Woman fights return to scene of abuse

Social workers and care home managers are fighting a proposal to
send a woman with learning difficulties back to a hospital where
she alleges she was sexually abused.

In June 1994, a disciplinary hearing against a male nurse at the
Ida Darwin hospital in Fulbourn, near Cambridge, cleared him of
allegations that he sexually abused three women. One woman, who now
lives in the Burwell home for people with learning difficulties,
subsequently developed severe mental health problems.

The nurse has since taken early retirement on grounds of ill

The consultant psychiatrist at the hospital and the woman’s GP
want her readmitted to the Ida Darwin. But her social worker,
managers of Burwell, and consultant psychotherapist Valerie
Sinason, who assessed her before the disciplinary case, strongly
oppose the move.

Sinason described the proposal as ‘utterly awful’.

‘Whether something is proven or not, the level of terror about a
particular place when this happens is going to stir up memories of
trauma and is proof to the person that they are not listened

But a spokesperson from the Ida Darwin said: ‘The decision is
based on the fact that she requires psychiatric treatment and this
is where her hospital is.’ Sinason has written to the hospital to
say the woman should not return there.

James Connolly, chief executive of Granta Housing Society, which
runs Burwell, said: ‘We will continue to emphasise the need to be

A final decision will be made this week.

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