The Independent Jersey Care Inquiry publishes its report
Today the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry publishes its long-awaited report into child abuse on the island.
Outer Temple were instructed as Counsel to this three-year inquiry which has investigated the care of children on the island of Jersey since 1945. Patrick Sadd, Harriet Jerram, Paul Livingston and Stephen Doherty worked alongside a team from Eversheds-Sutherland, instructed as Solicitors to the Inquiry.
In 2008, Jersey attracted world-wide press attention following allegations of child sex abuse in Haut de La Garenne, a large children’s home on the island that had closed in the 1980s. There followed an extensive police investigation, ‘Operation Rectangle’.
In 2010, the States of Jersey called for a public inquiry into children in care in children’s homes and fostered. The 15 terms of reference were wide-ranging and included a review of whether there had been political interference in the decisions to prosecute alleged perpetrators. There was a widely held view there had been cover up of the extent of abuse of children in care on the island.
The Inquiry, chaired by Frances Oldham QC, opened in April 2014. There were 149 hearing days. Evidence was heard from over 400 witnesses, including from victims and alleged victims, from staff working in the homes and from convicted and alleged perpetrators. Social workers, management and former directors of education and of social services were called. The Police, including the former chief officer and Operation Rectangle’s senior investigating officer, law officers including former attorneys general, politicians including past and present Bailiffs of Jersey and the Chief Minister also came to give evidence to the Inquiry. Documentation reviewed by the legal team amounted to over 500,000 pages. The Inquiry was closely followed in the island and beyond.
The Inquiry held its last hearings in July 2016.
The Inquiry panel make widespread findings concluding in many instances that child care in residential homes on the island was inadequate for many decades and that the island had lagged 20–30 years behind the UK in the provision of children’s services.
Among its recommendations the Inquiry Panel call for a Children’s Commissioner to be appointed and enshrined in States’ legislation and that the inspection of children’s services be given statutory force within 12 months.
House of Horrors should be demolished – The Telegraph.
Barristers: Harriet Jerram | Patrick Sadd | Paul Livingston