More than 80,000 pages of “valuable and relevant” documentary evidence have been submitted to the Independent jersey Care Inquiry so far – and are continuing to arrive.
They include Historic Abuse Redress Scheme documents from over 130 applicants, police statements from 293 individuals and thousands of pages of Social Services records.
The figures were announced by Counsel to the Inquiry, Harriet Jerram, on Day 16 (Wednesday 24 September) of the public hearings at Seaton Place.
“All of this provides crucial evidence of relevance to the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference,” she said.
“One of the tasks of the Inquiry is to determine whether there were patterns of abuse across childcare provision on the island. A great deal of valuable and relevant evidence about that is contained in statements that have previously been provided to the States of Jersey Police as part of Operation Rectangle and under the Historic Abuse redress Scheme. “
Ms Jerram explained that in order to ensure that the IJCI’s knowledge and understanding is as comprehensive as possible, a selection of those statements and documents will be read into the record by Counsel to the Inquiry.
Witnesses whose evidence is read into the record will remain anonymous and names and all identifying information redacted as part of protective measures under the Inquiry’s protocols. Where possible, witnesses will be notified in writing that their evidence is to be read out.
“Of course, we would encourage anyone receiving such a letter to consider whether they would also like to make a statement to the Inquiry,” said Ms Jerram.
“As the Panel is aware, the Terms of Reference of the Inquiry are different from the scope of Operation Rectangle and the Redress Scheme and the Inquiry will be assisted if those individuals decide to come forward.”
Evidence that has been read into the record will be available in redacted form on the website and will form part of the evidence to be considered by the Panel. Ms Jerram added that even if a witness’s statement is read into the record, they could still give evidence to the Inquiry at a later date. Interested Parties would not need to be in attendance during the reading in sessions as they would have access to all the documentation and transcripts.
“Members of the public of course are welcome to attend.” she concluded.
To date the Panel has heard oral evidence from seven witnesses describing various different homes and foster families with a particular focus on the early years at Jersey Home for Boys, Jersey Home for Girls and Sacre Coeur Orphanage. One gave evidence in private – another via video link. Four expert witnesses have also provided contextual evidence.
Anyone with experience of Jersey’s care system – good or bad – is invited to get in touch with the Inquiry Support Team. All information given to them is treated in strictest confidence and your privacy respected.