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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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Latest Updates

  
  
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16/04/2015
Danny Wherry, a former child care officer with Jersey’s Children’s Services, has been giving evidence at today’s hearing.

Danny Wherry, a former child care officer with Jersey’s Children’s Services, has been giving evidence at today’s hearing.

Mr Wherry was employed by Children’s Services as a child care officer from 1981. He had a variety of roles including the supervision of foster homes in Jersey and liaison with family group homes.

He told Counsel to the Inquiry Patrick Sadd that he only became aware of reports of abuse within children’s homes in later years. He said he had no firsthand experience of receiving complaints or of hearing it from others.

Mr Wherry no longer works in childcare.

The Inquiry team is now preparing for the rest of phase 1b. Hearings will resume during the last week of May.

 

  
15/04/2015
The former care worker at Haut de la Garenne, known as Mr K, has finished giving his evidence to the inquiry.

The former care worker at Haut de la Garenne, known as Mr K, has finished giving his evidence to the inquiry.

Mr K was at the home between 1975 and 1981. He was reminded by Counsel Patrick Sadd that he was not being cross-examined on his evidence: it "is your opportunity to respond to what has been said in evidence or presented in evidence to the inquiry in the last few months."

Mr Sadd listed a series of at least nine allegations from former residents of abuse by Mr K. They included claims of physical and sexual assault.

He denied each accusation and suggested at least some of the allegations had been made to secure compensation: "'All the allegations against me I would have thought the vast majority were to get compensation. Others could have been misinterpreted as what they actually believe….people may have mistaken identities."

Mr Sadd pointed out that five of those who made allegations did not apply for compensation from  the island's Redress Scheme.

Mr K answered: "'That doesn't surprise me because they were false allegations in the first place."

In 2008 when police launched Operation Rectangle to investigate allegations of abuse at Haut de la Garenne, Mr K was arrested.

He told the inquiry he felt bitter at his treatment by the police: "They have a duty to investigate…but not to raid people's houses at 6.30 in the morning."

The Attorney General at the time, William Bailhache, later decided there was insufficient evidence to prosecute Mr K.

Mr K said he had asked for help from people including Senator Le Marquand who was in charge of Home Affairs. But he and another influential person, who was not named, had chosen not to assist.

Following a complaint about his treatment by the police, Mr K received three and a half thousand pounds in compensation. He told the Panel he felt "demoralised" at the way he was treated and believes the manner of his arrest was "unnecessary and disproportionate" given the strength of evidence against him.

After Mr K had finished, Counsel Paul Livingston presented evidence from Witness 64. She had been abused by her father and said she'd been offered a bribe, which she'd declined, by a former honorary policeman not to give evidence against him. She stated that her father was imprisoned twice for sexual abuse, most recently in 2014.

Hearings resume at 10 am tomorrow. A former employee of Children's Services will be giving evidence.

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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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