Thursday, November 13, 2008

Child abuse on Jersey

Long ago - so long ago that this blog did not exist - I wrote a House Points column (the one for 27 June 2003) about abuse in children's homes:

There is something voyeuristic about the media’s emphasis on sexual matters. Reading the report of the 1992 inquiry into Leicestershire’s children’s homes, what comes through above is the squalor the children lived in and the inadequacies of those who regarded themselves as skilled therapists.

But these points never make the headlines. Nor do the appalling outcomes for children brought up in public care.

I thought of this today when it was announced that Jersey police no longer believe that there were any murders of children at Haute de la Garenne. It was always likely that the more lurid stories would turn out to have little basis in fact, but that does not mean that we can forget about Jersey.

This blog's guide to all things on the island, Senator Stuart Syvret, believes that this announcement is an attempt to divert attention from the Howard League for Penal Reform report on youth justice and child custody issues in Jersey, which will soon be published.

He writes:
But so crassly obvious is this stunt that some UK journalists who have contacted me are already falling about laughing at it.

Why the need to marginalise and distract attention from the Howard League report?

The Howard League has undertaken a detailed, independent investigation into youth justice and child custody issues in Jersey. A study which has examined the evidence, looked at the law, spoken with victims and whistle-blowers – and – particularly problematically for the Jersey oligarchy – the era they’ve been examining is comparatively recent.

The late 1980’s, 1990’s and up until 2006 and the present day.

An era, in fact, which is so recent that many of the key figures involved – for example many senior civil servants – are still in post.

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