03 July 2017

The Independent Jersey Care Inquiry - Statement from Campaigners


PRESS RELEASE ON BEHALF OF:
CAMPAIGNERS FOR AN INDEPENDENT INQUIRY INTO JERSEY CHILD ABUSE

“An end to the Jersey Way.

A group of current and former politicians, as well as Jersey bloggers who campaigned for almost a decade on subject of Child Abuse, and who fought for the Independent Abuse Inquiry to take place have said they are awaiting with ‘great anticipation’ the publishing of tomorrow’s report into child abuse. 
Speaking on behalf of the campaigners, Deputy Montfort Tadier said, “This was a hard fought battle and the Inquiry would not have happened were it not for a handful of committed individuals in the States Assembly, careleavers and members of citizens’ media, who successfully campaigned for the Inquiry to take place.
First and foremost, we must recognise that systemic child abuse was allowed to take place in state institutions, and elsewhere, over recent decades, to some of the most vulnerable children in our society. For some survivors and those close to them, there may never be true justice or closure, but today we can stand with them in solidarity and recognise their pain and trauma.
The two important questions that we hope the Inquiry will address are: How was this able to happen in Jersey, and could it still happen today?n
During the giving of evidence, many witnesses spoke of ‘the Jersey Way’; by this they meant a culture in which reporting abuse was difficult, where they weren’t listened to, where whilstleblowing was almost impossible, where the island’s reputation came before the safeguarding of the vulnerable and where complacency was the norm. 
There are still examples of some of these failures today: some areas of public sector and institutions remain hostile to criticism. Where this culture exists, it must be replaced by an active pursuit of honesty, openness, and accountability. Where problems exist, staff, agencies and citizens must feel able to raise valid concerns knowing that effective action will be taken in a timely manner. This will, no doubt, also mean better resourcing and investment in areas such as social care, education and training. We must also be prepared to reform our institutions where they are no longer fit for purpose and tradition can no longer be an excuse for not adopting modern best practice.”
-ENDS-
NOTE- Due to the timing of the publication of the report, the Campaign Group will be making a public statement on Tuesday at 1pm , in the Blampied Room, States Bulimg, Royal Square. Members of the media may attend and ask questions. 
Contact –Deputy Montfort Tadier, 07797844358
Twitter: @DeputyTadier

02 July 2017

The Death of the Jersey Way?

Former Senator Frank Walker, who was Chief Minister in 2008


"There is no hiding place in Jersey for anyone who abused children or, who in any way may have colluded with that abuse [my emphasis] and no stone will be left unturned to bring them to justice."

- Chief Minister, Senator Frank Walker to the States on Tuesday 26 February 2008

Monday 3rd July 2017 is an important day for Jersey. For those of us who campaigned for the establishment of an independent care inquiry for Jersey, and more generally for abuse victims and survivors, tomorrow's publication of the Jersey Care Inquiry report into Child Abuse represents the culmination of nine years of campaigning.

Despite the words of the Chief Minister at the time, a committee of inquiry was not an inevitability. Indeed, were it not for the dogged determination of care leavers, a small handful of politicians and, crucially, bloggers such as Rico Sorda, Voice for Children to name but two, the inquiry would certainly have never happened.

Former Senator, Terry Le Sueur was Chief Minister from 2008 - 2011

Senator Walker's successor, Terry Le Sueur tried to shelve the inquiry. In an official report to the States, R.8/2011, the Chief Minister concluded:

"It is accepted that not everyone will agree with the Council’s decision and some
individuals may still have questions. It is hoped that those who may not agree will
recognise the seriousness with which the Council has considered the matter. With
the advantage of the passage of time, the Council has reviewed all the issues and
considers that a Committee of Inquiry would not be appropriate."


Thankfully that was not the end of the matter: my colleagues at the time Senator Fran├žis Le Gresley, deputy Bob Hill and Daniel Wimberley tabled a counter-proposal and amendments, asking for an Inquiry into the Child Abuse and subsequent cover-up. Other key proponents were former Deputies Trevor and Shona Pitman, current members like Mike Higgins.

Credit should also go to Senator Ian Gorst, with whom we worked over many iterations to find acceptable and thorough terms of reference for the Inquiry.

The campaigners will be sending a joint press release out shorty, so check the TwitterSpace for #JerseyCareInquiry