|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 Françis 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