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Independent Jersey Care Inquiry

The Independent Jersey Care Inquiry is investigating the abuse of children in Jersey's care system over many years.

The Panel hearing the evidence wants to build up as full a picture as possible so that it can then make recommendations, ensuring that the Island's care system is fit for its purpose of caring for vulnerable children and young people.

 

The Inquiry Chair, Frances Oldham QC, has promised a "robust and fearless" examination of what went wrong and to find answers for people who suffered abuse as children.

The hearings are being held in public at 11 -15 Seaton Place in St Helier.

Where agreed in advance, some witnesses will be giving their evidence in private. Arrangements are in place to guarantee their confidentiality.

Transcripts of the hearings will be placed on the website.

Meanwhile, anyone with information about the care system in Jersey, or direct experience of it, is invited to get in touch with the Inquiry.

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31/07/2015
The IJCI continues to hear evidence about the workings of Children’s Services from the 1990s, as well as evidence from two anonymous witnesses.

​The Independent Jersey Care Inquiry on Friday (31 July) continued to hear evidence about the workings of Children’s Services from the 1990s, as well as evidence from two anonymous witnesses.

In a detailed account, Children’s Services Officer, Mr Tony Le Sueur, covered a range of topics from the Key Worker System and training provision, the use of detention rooms and child placement policies through to staff assessments and social workers’ caseloads.

Taking him through his statement, Inquiry Counsel, Mr Patrick Sadd, asked Mr Le Sueur about the impact of these organisational practices on residents and on staff morale.

Mr Le Sueur described the formation of the Health and Social Services Department and the Jersey Child Protection Committee.  He spoke about the problems that arose around funding and budgets, issues around communication between staff and departments, police involvement and how this all played out against the backdrop of deep-seated cultural issues and Jersey's political system.

He recalled Jersey’s failure to implement the recommendations of other external inspections and said he sincerely hoped that the Inquiry’s recommendations would be taken on as there were hugely committed professionals working on the island who wanted better services.

Mr Le Sueur will conclude his evidence next Thursday.

In the afternoon, anonymous witness, Mr ‘A’, described how he had starting taking children from Haut de la Garenne for days out at the beach and cinema, on a voluntary basis, in the 1960s. In 2003 one of the children, Witness 195, repeatedly asked him for money, and when faced with threats, Mr ‘A’ reported him to the police. During the police investigation, Witness 195 made significant allegations of sexual abuse against Mr ‘A’ in relation to these trips out during the 1960s.

In 2004, police interviewed Mr  ‘A’ about the allegations, which he denied. During evidence today, Mr ‘A’ also denied allegations in relation to other former residents of Haut de la Garenne that he had taken for days out during the 1960s.

Earlier, anonymous witness, Mr ‘K’, refuted allegations of sexual abuse during visits to Haut de la Garenne whilst working for Children’s Services.

Transcripts and supporting documents will be made available in due course.

Public hearings resume 1000 on Tuesday 4 August. Please monitor the Timetable for up-to-date timings

  
30/07/2015
IJCI hears further evidence from the former head of Children's Service and starts hearing evidence from Health & Social Service Officer, Tony Le Sueur.

The former Head of Children’s Services, Mr Anton Skinner, on Thursday (30 July) continued giving evidence to the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry.

Speaking for a third day, he recalled the circumstances around Jane Maguire being transferred to the Family Centre Service after being removed as House Mother at Blanche Pierre following abuse allegations. Her new role included running under-fives groups alongside an experienced nursery worker. Inquiry Counsel, Mr Patrick Sadd, asked Mr Skinner to comment on how much he was aware of the extent of involvement that Mrs Maguire would have had with young children.

Mr Skinner went on to describe his actions in the investigation into disclosure of abuse made by a young person originally resident at Heathfield about a member of staff, Witness 335. He talked about the involvement of the Police and the newly formed Child Protection Team (for which he had been responsible for setting up), as well as discussions about the case with the Education Committee. Witness 335 was given early retirement and an enhancement to his pension.

He also outlined what the disciplinary procedures of the States of Jersey were in 1991 and the issues around trying to fire people.

Mr Sadd then asked Mr Skinner about political interest and involvement in Children's Services, funding, and his relationship with Senator Stuart Syvret, in his role as President and latterly Minister of Health and Social Services.

​Mr Skinner explained his department's retention policy with regard to destroying documents and archiving and talked about issues arising out of the Operation Rectangle Police investigation.

Mr Skinner spoke of the lessons learned both personally and professionally, some of the improvements achieved within Children's Services and the difficulties of getting laws passed in Jersey.

His concluding statement included apologies to all children affected by decisions made by himself and Children’s Services. He said there was no question of a cover-up as he did act on complaints as quickly as possible - but that there were lessons to be learned.  

Mr Sadd also started to take Day 89’s second witness through his evidence. Mr Tony Le Sueur first appeared before the IJCI Panel last year to outline the history of Jersey’s Children’s Services since 1945 as part of his current role as Programme Associate on behalf of Health & Social Services in the States’ own Inquiry team.  He confirmed that the appointment was not made on behalf of the IJCI nor was in any way related to the IJCI team.

Mr Le Sueur detailed various aspects of training, development and disciplinary policies and practices as well as child protection legislation during his varied career within Children’s Services since starting as a worker in a Youth centre in the 1980s, working at Heathfields and La Chasse in the 1990s and moving into senior management roles in the 2000s.

He talked about what he wanted the IJCI final report to achieve, and his fears that the funds wouldn’t be made available to implement any recommendations which he regarded as being a priority in order to protect vulnerable children.

Public hearings start at 0900 tomorrow (Friday 31 July) and Mr Le Sueur will continue giving his evidence from 1000.

Full transcripts and supporting documents will be available in due course.

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Chair: Frances Oldham QC
Frances Oldham QC
Alyson Leslie
Alyson Leslie
Sandy Cameron CBE
Prof. Sandy Cameron CBE

Witnesses Appeal

The Inquiry would like to hear from anyone with information about care homes or foster care in Jersey. This includes senior managers, support staff such as cooks and cleaners, police officers, teachers -
indeed anyone coming into contact with children in the care system. People who
were in care at anytime since the war are also asked to come forward and tell
their story.  A free and confidential support scheme is available on and off Jersey.

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