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Independent Jersey Care Inquiry
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The Independent Jersey Care Inquiry was set up to establish what went wrong in the Island's care system over many years and to find answers for people who suffered abuse as children. On 6 December 2010 Chief Minister Senator Terry Le Sueur formally apologised to all those who suffered abuse in the States of Jersey’s residential care system, acknowledging that the care system had failed some children in a serious way. Chief Minister Le Sueur’s statement followed the conclusion of Operation Rectangle, a States of Jersey Police investigation into historical child sexual, emotional and physical abuse in a number of institutions in Jersey. Operation Rectangle reported and recorded a total of 553 alleged offences between September 2007 and December 2010. Of these, 315 alleged offences were reported as being committed at Haut de la Garenne Children's Home. Eight people were prosecuted for 145 offences and seven convictions secured. The Police identified 151 named offenders and 192 victims. In his apology Chief Minister Le Sueur promised that the Council of Ministers would consider whether there remained any 'unanswered questions' that required further investigation by a Committee of Inquiry. On 2 March 2011 the States Assembly formally requested the Council of Ministers to establish a Committee of Inquiry to investigate a number of 'unresolved issues' in relation to historical abuse in the Island. These matters related to: 1. Measures taken to address inappropriate behaviour from staff when discovered, whether those measures were sufficient, and other measures that could have been taken. 2. Whether those in authority at political and officer level dealt with problems brought to their attention 3. Mechanisms in operation to allow children to report their concerns in safety, and the action taken when and if concerns were voiced 4. Whether the approach taken when deciding on which cases to prosecute was consistent and impartial and free from political influence or interference at any level. On 6 March 2013 the States Assembly agreed the 15 Terms of Reference for a Committee of Inquiry to undertake a wide-ranging investigation into historical child abuse in Jersey. The Inquiry would allow victims and others to recount their experiences, to establish how establishments caring for children were managed and to compare this to the norms of the time. On 10 December 2013 the appointed Panel, comprising Frances Oldham QC, Alyson Leslie and Professor Sandy Cameron, took the oath of office before the Bailiff of Jersey. The Independent Jersey Care Inquiry hearings were held between July 2014 and June 2016, mainly in public, although at times the Panel heard evidence in private session. The hearings covered three phases. Phase 1 Phase 1a Evidence from former residents of care homes and foster placements Phase 1b Evidence from staff and others working in the care sector and from alleged abusers Phase 1bb Evidence of those charged with political or other oversight of children’s homes and fostering services during the period Phase 2 Evidence relating to policing, investigations of abuse and decisions on prosecution Phase 3 Consultations and discussions about the future of child care services in Jersey Phase 3a Evidence of and relating to former residents of children’s homes and foster care Phase 3b Consideration of expert evidence and meetings with child care policy experts such as Professor Eileen Munro and Lord Laming Phase 3c Evidence relating to a public consultation, inviting contributions from the people of Jersey as to how Jersey can deliver a high-quality system of care for children Phase 3d Evidence relating to consultations with Jersey stakeholders from all sectors, which included discussions with the Panel, held in public session, in which contributors from other phases participated. Phase 3e Evidence from counsel and Interested Party submissions.
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