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Digital copy of Witness 780's witness statement to the Inquiry providing an account of his experiences under the care of the States of Jersey, primarily with respect to his time at Les Chênes Residential School. [Some details redacted].
November 29th 2015 - November 29th 2015
|Scope and Content|
Background and Home Life Details birth in Jersey in 1967. Recalls being raised by mother in small apartment, and being looked after by other individuals due to mother’s hours of employment. Recounts getting into trouble from age of nine due to lack of supervision. Mentions breaking into a pleasure park and beginning a substance addiction. Institutions Details education at Vauxhall Primary School, St Helier Boys School and Highlands College. Details admission to Les Chenes Residential School [See Exhibit 1: C/D/AW1/A1/21/WD008665/1 and C/D/AW1/A1/21/WD008311], after stealing from Woolworth and Company Limited. Refers to document entitled ‘General Matters Concerning Children in Care’ [See Exhibit 2: C/D/AW1/A1/21/WD008665/2 and C/D/AW1/A1/21/WD008310], and to meeting of Advisory Committee for Les Chênes dated 12 October 1981 mentioning Witness 780’s breach of his probation order due to his substance abuse. Also refers to his formal admission to Les Chênes dated 11 September 1981 [See Exhibit 3: C/D/AW1/A1/21/WD008665/3 and C/D/AW1/A1/21/WD008309]. Recalls not being informed how long he would remain at Les Chênes, mentioning that some children seemed to be remanded there for minor transgressions. Recalls arriving at Les Chênes at night with States of Jersey Police, having to wash in a bath before being given pyjamas and being placed into the secure suite for several nights. Describes secure suite as small and dark with a gym bed and a button to press if he needed to use the bathroom. Details how food was brought to him, how he was allowed to exercise, and his emotions whilst in solitary confinement. Recalls being provided with clothes and clogs upon moving into the main accommodation with 15 to 16 other residents, and lists other Les Chênes residents. Describes members of Les Chênes staff, mentioning Mario Lundy, teaching staff, and another member of staff. Details layout of Les Chênes, mentioning the front door, visiting room, seating areas, offices, dining room, kitchen, cubicles, laundry room, secure suits, bathrooms, day room, classrooms, woodwork room, gym, and bedrooms. Describes daily routine at Les Chênes, mentioning breakfast, chores, lessons, lunch, activities, television, and bathroom and bedtime routines. Recalls sporting activity being encouraged, and his position on a football team outside the Les Chênes environment. Mentions Mario Lundy’s rugby career for Jersey, and his support for residents’ involvement in sport. Recalls being allowed to visit mother at home on weekends following probationary period at Les Chenes, and mother visiting Les Chênes. Refers to minutes of meeting held by Advisory Committee at Les Chênes dated 12 October 1981 regarding importance of maintaining contact between parents and children [See Exhibit 3: C/D/AW1/A1/21/WD008665/3 and C/D/AW1/A1/21/WD008309]. Comments on lack of telephone and physical contact with parents whilst at Les Chênes, and suggests that residents left Les Chênes due to reaching the age of 17 rather than due to improved home circumstances as proffered in the minutes. Recalls system of discipline at Les Chênes, referring to a points system where points were awarded and deducted according to behaviour. Refers to memorandum dated 17 August 1983 from Child Care Officer C A Smith to a member of Les Chênes staff demonstrating the amount of leave children had earned through the points system [See Exhibit 4: C/D/AW1/A1/21/WD008665/4 and C/D/AW1/A1/21/WD008312]. Comments that points could be used to secure home leave as well as to purchase food from the tuck-shop. Recalls mother saying that she used to send money to Les Chênes, possibly for him to use in the tuck shop, but does not recall being given the money. Describes circumstances in which residents might leave the points system, due to collection of 10 certificates for earning 600 points in a week. Recalls having joined the ‘Elite Club’ of residents to have achieved this by age of 16. Describes circumstances in which the points system also incentivised poor behaviour, mentioning relationships with teachers and members of staff, behaviour and learning difficulties of some residents, and poor home circumstances of some residents. Refers to corporal punishment, mentioning use of cane by two members of staff, including Mario Lundy. Refers to police report dated 2 September 2008 [See Exhibit 5: C/D/AW1/A1/21/WD008665/5 and C/D/AW1/A1/21/WD008308] in which Witness 780 was interviewed by police. Report describes Witness 780 recalling children being placed into the secure suite to calm them down. Recounts atmosphere of bullying at Les Chênes, listing children who were bullied, and those children who took part in the bullying. Refers to intervening with others in order to defend other residents from being bullied, and receiving racial abuse due to his heritage from both residents and staff. Details education at Les Chênes, achieving seven CSE results in part due to structure of Les Chênes and points system. Recalls joining Highlands College at age of 16, continuing residence at Les Chênes and visits home on weekends. Refers to being asked by Solicitors to the Inquiry whether anyone else from his time at Les Chênes went on to further study; recalls some students having gone on to study at Highlands College, but comments such students were in the minority. Social Services Refers to meeting Child Care Officer Richard Davenport before arriving at Les Chênes, and visits during residency. Recalls short visits by Richard Davenport for all Les Chênes residents during initial months following admission. Suggests mother may have had more contact with Children’s Services than Witness 780 himself. Abuse and Consequences Recalls regular emotional and physical abuse by staff towards residents. Recounts racial abuse by staff and other residents, causing him to pretend his middle name was something different. Recalls that some children came to Les Chênes from Haut de la Garenne, and comments that he had been told some had experienced physical abuse whilst there, and his understanding that such abuse was more common at Haut de la Garenne than at Les Chênes. Lists three residents previously at Haut de la Garenne. Recalls physical abuse by a member of Les Chênes staff and Mario Lundy, mentioning ‘pinballing’ to describe both throwing residents “against walls, tables and furniture” [see Exhibit 6: C/D/AW1/A1/21/WD008665/6]. Refers to document shown to Witness 780 by the Solicitors to the Inquiry relating to information held by States of Jersey Police, in which instances of ‘pinballing’ by Mario Lundy and another member of Les Chênes staff against Witness 780 and others are mentioned. Recalls Mario Lundy and another member of Les Chênes staff using football as a means of physical abuse due to the roughness of the matches they organised. Details physical abuse by another member of staff. Also details the member of staff’s inappropriate behaviour towards female residents, and irresponsible driving behaviour. Details specific instances of emotional and physical abuse by staff towards residents as a means of punishment for misdemeanours. Describes one of these instances in relation to an Historic Abuse Redress Scheme application form from another witness [See Exhibit 7: C/D/AW1/A1/21/WD008665/7]. Expresses confusion as to why instances of abuse outlined above did not appear in a report produced by States of Jersey Police in 2008 [See Exhibit 5: C/D/AW1/A1/21/WD008665/5 and C/D/AW1/A1/21/WD008308]. Refers to discussing abuse with other residents but not with his mother. Notes that not all members of staff at Les Chênes were involved in the abuse of residents, and that whilst abuse occurred at Les Chênes, he wonders whether some have exaggerated the extent and nature of abuse in order to claim compensation. Recalls being informed by the Solicitors to the Inquiry about the [Historic Abuse] Redress Scheme, but having had no knowledge of the scheme beforehand. Events since leaving Care Recalls being offered an apprenticeship after a year at Highlands College, and leaving Les Chênes as a result. Recalls re-admittance to Les Chênes six months later after breaching his probation. Recalls stealing a car and being admitted to the Young Offenders’ wing at HM Prison La Moye at age of 18 or 19. Describes changing his life for the better following his remand at HM Prison La Moye, and reflects that life on the Young Offenders’ wing was less fraught than Les Chênes. Refers to meeting other former residents from Les Chênes, and their wish to have improved their lives like Witness 780. Reflects on positives of points system with regard to his education, and the strength needed to be a resident at Les Chênes due to difficult conditions. Details recommendations for those under the care of Children’s Services, and specifically in children’s homes or residential schools. Refers to the need for frequent visits from Children’s Services, guidance to be provided for young offenders, and a counselling service within residential homes to be used by residents.
Highlands College | Haut de la Garenne | King Street | La Moye Prison | Les Chênes, Five Oaks | St Helier Boys School | Vauxhall School | abuse | apprenticeships | bathrooms | behaviour | bedrooms | child abuse | Child Care Officers | Children's Officers | child protection | childminders | childcare | Children | children's homes | children's services | Christmas | corporal punishment | caning | Colleges | courts | Committees | dining rooms | Education | employment | emotional abuse | Football | inquiries | juvenile courts | Kitchens | lessons | mothers | offices | physical abuse | punishments | points | Police | probation | qualifications | Rugby | residential schools | Sports | secure accommodation | Shops | staff | stealing | Schools | theft | teachers | violence | witness statements | witnesses
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