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7 October 2014

The IJCI has today (Tuesday) been hearing further details of child abuse at Haute de la Garenne and Clos des Sables.

Speaking anonymously, 'Miss E' described how she was taken into care aged 8 after her parents' relationship deteriorated. She said punishments "were the norm" at Haute de la Garenne.

Bad language was punished by forcing soap in the children’s mouths and if they wet the bed, they had to sleep in the wet sheets so they wouldn't do it again. Older children would hang her over the banisters by her feet if she didn't steal cigarettes & biscuits for them. She said that no one intervened.

As she started secondary school she was moved to Clos des Sables family home where she and other residents were sexually abused on multiple occasions by the housefather, Leslie Hughes.  The abuse stopped when she was 14 because she became more confident about saying no and recalled trying to protect the more vulnerable girls.  On one occasion she found Hughes in bed with one of the younger, newer girls but there was no one to talk to as they wouldn't listen.

Years later, when the victim went to the police, Miss E gave a statement in support of her - but the police didn't want to know about other things going on in the home.  She said she felt guilty for years that she should have done more to help the girl.

Miss E was also critical of Jersey Children's Services, saying they did a poor job many years ago and although she has had some good experiences in later years with particular social workers she believes the system is still failing, is inconsistent and hasn't changed.

Miss E said her experiences totally changed her as a person - from being someone happy that was shown love and affection by her mother and church family, to having nothing - and to this day she still doesn't understand it.

After lunch, the Panel heard submissions from Counsel to the Inquiry, Patrick Sadd, Advocate Robert MacRae for the Jersey Police, Advocate Beverley Lacey for the States of Jersey and Alan Collins for the Jersey Care Leavers Association about revising the protocol regarding the naming of alleged abusers re the naming of alleged abusers who are believed to be dead. Panel Chair, Frances Oldham, said they would adjourn to consider the matter and make a ruling tomorrow (Wednesday) at 1000.

This will be followed by further reading into the record of witness statements re Clos des Sables. The afternoon hearing will start at 1400, when a witness will be giving evidence re his experiences of growing up in the Jersey care system.

On Thursday (1000), the Panel will hear evidence from a witness about the organisation of Sacre Coeur  Orphanage. This will be followed by further reading into the record of witness statements.

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