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14 April 2015

​The Independent Jersey Care Inquiry has heard the first evidence from a witness who is facing allegations of abuse of children in care.

Mr K was employed at Haut de la Garenne as a residential care worker between 1979 and 1981.

He first came into contact with the home when he was 17 and on a work placement. He had two spells there.

Counsel for the Inquiry, Patrick Sadd, asked if he'd received any formal training. Mr K, speaking anonymously from behind a screen, said that he had not.

After his work placements, Mr K continued to visit the home regularly to help out, with the knowledge of staff. He would be in charge of children for activities like swimming and meals. He would also be involved at bedtime and reading stories.

Asked about discipline, Mr K said that if a child was misbehaving, he might "give them a tap on the bottom or the legs with the back of the hand."

Mr Sadd asked how he knew the limits of what to do. Mr K replied that he "followed the role models of other members of staff and they always practised, not frequently can I add – the flat on the hand on the bottom or the back of the legs."

Mr K was later read a list of staff working at Haut de la Garenne whom he might see as role models. The listed included Morag Jordan, later convicted of offences against children. Mr K told Mr Sadd that he was never aware of her carrying out any assaults.

Asked if he had heard allegations of bullying, Mr K replied that "it never came on my radar".

Mr K said in his witness statement that "…the overriding atmosphere at Haut de la Garenne was that everything was for the good of the children. It was very philanthropic. I certainly never heard or saw anything there that I did not like or had concerns with."

He accepted that some children ran away from the home on a regular basis and there were "concerns about promiscuity of some of the children within the home."

Mr K will continue giving his evidence from 9.30 am tomorrow.

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