It was ten years later my older sister Sarah and I found out what happened to Alison when she was “in the care” of Cumbria NHS. Mum knew, but had kept quiet. She is from a different generation and was ashamed. Mum is not proud of this but I don’t blame her for not speaking out. The real shame lies with the person who took advantage of Alison and with the people who sat back and let it happen.
In 2001 we approached Cumbria NHS and Cumbria Police to tell them what we had discovered and get justice for Alison. We made the mistake of thinking they would be interested. Cumbria Police were indifferent, asking why it mattered as it had happened years ago. The NHS then lost Alison’s Medical Records and it became my job to track the records down. I found a copy of an abortion certificate and medical notes from a GP who treated Alison in Doncaster and I gave these to the Police and Cumbria NHS.
Records show Alison had an abortion as a Mental Health outpatient of the NHS. They show details of the abortion were withheld from her mental health records. This meant what she had been through was withheld from people who could have helped; the illegal sex, the crisis pregnancy and resulting abortion were all brushed under the carpet by those who turned a blind eye.
In February 2002 the CPS dismissed the case saying there was not enough evidence, despite records showing the abortion occurred and had been covered up. We were angry, confused and wrote to ask why the case had been dropped, but they just kept trotting out the same line, what we didn’t know was that Cumbria Police had “lost” the evidence we gave them and Executives at the NHS had not shared information with Cumbria Police. What has also become clear is that none of the institutions, Cumbria Police or the NHS, wanted the case to move forward. Cumbria Police did not bother to create a crime report or a basic investigation plan.