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Digital copy of Witness 140's witness statement to the Inquiry providing an account of his experiences in care, primarily with reference to his time at Haut de la Garenne and in foster care. [Some details redacted].
December 1st 2014 - December 1st 2014
|Scope and Content|
Background and Home Life Asserts to have no childhood before being placed into care due to young age. Cites physical abuse by his father as reason for being placed into care, referring to an incident recorded in his Social Services file when he was aged 4 whereby his father put a knife to his throat. Refers to records of him going back and forth between his parents' home and Brig-y-Don during his early years, stating to have no memory of Brig-y-Don. Institutions Includes references to his time at Brig-y-Don, Haut de la Garenne, St Martin's Primary School, Grouville School and in foster care. Recalls being taken to Haut de la Garenne for the first time aged 3 by someone from Children's Services. Includes recollections of Haut de la Garenne, commenting on size of the building and security measures such as a green fence around the perimeter of the building. Recalls the dormitories, dining hall and punishment rooms. Includes recollections of daily routine at Haut de la Garenne, mentioning arrangements in respect of eating, washing, schooling, leisure, sleeping and hygiene. Recalls there being only a few girls in residence, commenting on average age of residents. Describes violence by older residents towards younger boys. Unable to recalls names of staff members or other residents at Haut de la Garenne. Recalls running away from Haut de la Garenne to a nearby campsite on one occasion with another male resident before being returned to the Home by Police, despite his objections. Describes culture of fear to tell anyone about what happened at Haut de la Garenne due to fear of being punished. Includes recollection of staffing and supervision at Haut de la Garenne, recalling that children were locked in their rooms in the evening. Recalls being occasionally discharged home to his parents during his time at Haut de la Garenne before returning to the Home. Recalls being chosen to live with [foster parents] when aged 5. Describes fostering process at Haut de la Garenne, recalling feelings upon being fostered by a couple following a number of visits to their home over a period of three months. Recalls living with first foster parents for 6 years between the ages of 5 and 11. Describes short period spent with his second foster parents, commenting on formality of the arrangement and recalling that the couple were elderly. Recalls moving to Le Rocquier School during this foster placement. Recalls being taken to Haut de la Garenne to meet new prospective foster parents and subsequent time spent with them on weekend visits over a period of 6 months before being placed with them on a permanent basis under a formal fostering arrangement. Refers to positive first impressions of the family, despite not getting on with his [foster sister]. Includes recollections of this foster family's first home, commenting on small size of the property given the size of the family. Recalls sharing a room with other children including his [foster brother]. Recalls moving to a larger house after 18 months and includes recollections of the layout of the property. Recalls sharing a bedroom with his [foster brother], providing details about the room. Recalls leaving foster placement following his [foster father]'s conviction just after he left school aged 15. Refers to enrolment on a course at Highlands College and an overview of employment. Recalls having to leave his home around Christmas and moving into the home of a friend's mother, where he stayed for 6 or 7 years until aged 21 or 22. Social Services Includes recollections of Social Services, mentioning [Child Care Officer] Mr [Dave] Dallain and a woman with blonde hair. Recalls having little interaction with Dallain during his time at Haut de la Garenne and has no recollections of being visited by parents while in residence, despite alleged attempts by mother. Recalls being taken by Dallain from Haut de la Garenne to live with his [foster parents] aged 5. Recalls being visited by Social Services once a month whilst living with his first foster parents, describing nature of visits. Recalls being told he would have to return to Haut de la Garenne by Social Services despite his and his first [foster father's] objections. Recalls there initially being more regular visits by Social Services during second placement before visits decreased. Notes that Social Services prevented [foster parents] contacting Witness 140. States that he did not see anyone from Social Services from the age of 16 until his discharge from care aged 21, noting that this was his decision. Comments on records contained in his Social Services file referring to contact between Witness 140 and Mr Dallain beyond the age of 16. Abuse and Consequences Recalls staff washing residents so vigorously that they left marks on skin. Describes symptoms of physical abuse including bruising, recalling that a teacher noticed bruising on Witness 140. Notes that the Headmaster subsequently asked the minibus driver who transported residents at Haut de la Garenne to school what had happened to Witness 140, noting response of the minibus driver. Recalls being placed in solitary confinement in a punishment room upon being returned to Haut de la Garenne by Police after having absconded. Recalls corporal punishment administered by a slipper and a culture of punishment for menial misbehaviours. Recalls that the same two or three members of staff gave out punishments. Recalls hearing other residents shouting or screaming at night, detailing signs of physical abuse of residents. Notes that residents did not discuss what had happened to them. Provides details about specific incidents of sexual abuse by his [foster father]. Notes that first instance of abuse occurred when Witness 140 was aged 12 or 13 after he had been living with his foster family for 18 months to 2 years. Notes that he was alone in the house with [his foster father] during daytime in his [foster father's] bedroom when first incident happened, and that he was subsequently regularly abused similarly over a period of years. Recalls that after each incident, his [foster father] would threaten Witness 140 by telling him not tell anyone about what happened or he would be sent back to Haut de la Garenne. Also describes being sexually abused at night in the bedroom he shared with his [foster brother] by a male he believed to be his [foster father]. States to be unsure whether his [foster brother] was in the room at the same time as was abuse was happening. Comments on arrest of his [foster father], noting that the arrest happened shortly after reporting abuse to an individual. Refers to [foster father's] conviction and imprisonment in the late 1970s or early 1980s, stating to have had no involvement in these proceedings. Events since leaving Care Refers to a drug overdose aged 18 and subsequent referral to a pyschiatrist. Left his friend's mother's house aged 21 or 22 to move into a bedsit. Recalls receiving a letter [c. 2008] from the States of Jersey Police asking Witness 140 to contact them concerning the investigation into abuse at Haut de la Garenne. Recalls being told that his name was put forward by a former female resident of Haut de la Garenne and subsequent interview with a Police Officer and Ray [Alexander] from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Describes feeling under pressure during the interview which resulted in him divulging information about the abuse he suffered. Recalls being being asked by Police about whether children were physically abused at Haut de la Garenne and about his time in foster care. Notes that he was asked whether his [foster brother] had abused him, commenting on the possibility that the person who abused him in his bedroom was his [foster brother] rather than his [foster father], whilst asserting belief that it was his [foster father]. Notes that he gave four statements to the States of Jersey Police. Describes being told by Police that they had received a written statement from the [foster brother] whereby he stated that he had abused Witness 140. Notes that the [foster brother] pleaded not guilty in court and the case was dismissed, recalling that the Police attempted to get him to say that he remembered his foster brother] abusing him, despite having recollections of such. States understanding that his [foster brother] was imprisoned for separate [child abuse] offences. Comments on involvement in the redress scheme, referring to engagement of Lavelle Coleman Solicitors to help secure compensation despite contact received from the Jersey Care Leavers Association offering help. Comments on subsequent access to his Police statements and to his Social Services records, commenting on possibility that records were missing. Refers to subsequent attempts to contact his mother and reasons for wanting to access records. Includes comments about impact of abuse on aspects of his life including sleeping. Mentions impact of 2008 investigation on his professional life, and worsening of impact of abuse since 2008. Refers to use of medicaiton, disatisfaction with treatment at Overdale Hospital, hospitalisation and referral to receive psychiatric treatment from Shelley Le Main. Statement finishes with reflection on time in care, and suggested changes to the childcare system in Jersey, mentioning need to listen to young children and young adults. Expresses anger at the way the States of Jersey allowed him to be treated during his childhood and at Social Services for preventing contact with his [foster parents] after leaving their care.
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