South West Wales

Mother denied full access to Seren Bernard report

Sarah Pollock
Image caption Ms Pollock said she wants "openness and transparency"

A "distraught" mother has been denied access to a full report into the death of her teenage daughter while in care.

Seren Bernard, 14, took her own life while living with foster carers in Pembrokeshire in 2012.

A serious case review was published in 2014, but Sarah Pollock was only given a summary of its contents.

A fresh call was made to Pembrokeshire council on Thursday, but it said it could not disclose the full report based on "clear legal advice".

Image copyright Other
Image caption Seren Bernard was living with foster carers when she died

Cabinet member for wellbeing, Tessa Hodgson, said: "On a personal level I can sympathise with the request. I think if any of us were named in an official document they would want to read the full report".

But she said the council had received "clear legal advice" and "that it is not within the gift of this council to disclose the full report".

The summary of the report said Seren, referred to as child M, had made a suicide attempt in 2011, and research indicated a further attempt "was a possibility".

"However, in the days prior to her death, her mood is recorded to have lifted and her behaviour gave no indication that she was contemplating suicide," it read.

It concluded: "It must remain uncertain whether there were any steps, if taken, would have prevented child M's death."

Ms Pollock said the report was a "document for learning" but questioned how lessons could be learned when "it was in lock down".

She said not knowing the contents of the report had left her feeling "traumatised and dysfunctional" as "so many questions have been left unanswered".

Speaking after the full council, she said she was "absolutely appalled" by the decision.

She said she would continue to campaign as the report was a "matter of public interest" and it was "her right to sight".

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