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Digital copy of Witness 268's witness statement to the Inquiry providing an account of her experiences in Care at Westaway Crèche, Grouville Girl’s Home [Jersey Female Orphans Home], and Haut de la Garenne. [Some details redacted].
October 25th 2015 - October 25th 2015
|Scope and Content|
Background and Home Life Refers to birth in 1947, and admission into Care the same year. Refers to mother’s marriage to Witness 268’s stepfather, and subsequent siblings born. Reflects on Witness 268’s lack of knowledge about her own father. Institutions Refers to placement at Westaway Crèche during 1947. Recalls occasional visits by her mother, the withdrawal of sweets as a form of punishment, and transfer to Grouville [Jersey Female Orphans Home] with two other Westaway Crèche girls in 1952 to 1953. Provides details of staff at [Jersey Female Orphans Home], as well as residents. Recalls that 20 girls slept in Witness 268’s dormitory, and that older girls would chastise and discipline younger residents. Recalls that less than 10 girls remained, cared for by the Matron, towards the end of Witness 268’s time at [Jersey Female Orphans Home]. Provides details of the daily routine at [Jersey Female Orphans Home], mentioning mealtimes and consequences for not eating meals, hair brushing by residents and staff, cold baths, and consequences for hair not drying during the time in which the residents were allowed to watch television on a Saturday evening. Comments on lasting fear of the dark as a result of punishments at [Jersey Female Orphans Home] for having wet hair. Describes reaction of staff to residents who had enuresis. Recalls inspections of residents’ uniform and bedding, and the completion of chores. Describes the uniform worn by residents, and Witness 268’s pride in a new dress bought for her by her mother and stepfather after Witness 268 left Haut de la Garenne. Refers to attendance at Sunday School and Grouville Church. Recalls long walks on Sundays, mentioning Grouville Church, Grouville Parish Hall, Grouville Hill, and a valley in St Martin. Recalls attending Brownies, and describes exploring a building in the yard where Brownies was held. Attended Grouville School between the ages of 6 and 15. Recalls that only one resident at [Jersey Female Orphans Home] attended St Helier Girls School. Describes difficulties making friends with other Grouville School pupils due to instructions from [Jersey Female Orphans Home] staff and bullying of residents by pupils due to the residents’ dress. Provides recollections of being treated kindly at Grouville School in direct comparison to treatment received at [Jersey Female Orphans Home], mentioning winning a handwriting competition and being scared to go home after school after detention. Provides details of punishments, such as domestic duties, corporal punishments, solitary confinement, and the washing of mouths out with soap. Recalls absconding with other residents to the top of Grouville Hill near Clos de Roncier as a protest against mistreatment by one of the members of [Jersey Female Orphans Home] staff. Recalls returning to [Jersey Female Orphans Home] to raise concerns to Matron regarding physical and emotional abuse. Recalls that the member of staff concerned was sacked. Comments on infrequent visits by Witness 268’s mother and stepfather whilst at [Jersey Home for Girls]. States that from the age of 11 she visited her family herself. Reflects on longer visits home allowed once Witness 268 moved to Haut de la Garenne. Refers to visits to [Jersey Female Orphans Home] by John Le Marquand. Recalls transfer to Haut de la Garenne at the ae of 11 or 12 circa 1959. Names [Colin] Tilbrook as the Haut de la Garenne [Superintendent]. Names other children at Haut de la Garenne, and reflects on her distress when other children would be taken home to live with their families whilst Witness 268 remained in Care. Describes areas of Haut de la Garenne in which children were not allowed to play. Compares experiences and freedoms at Haut de la Garenne to those at [Jersey Female Orphans Home]. Details punishments at Haut de la Garenne, mentioning corporal punishment for boys. Recalls going on holiday with children and staff from Haut de la Garenne, and provides recollections of a house where sick children were treated if their illnesses and injuries were not serious enough for hospital. Reflects on the family like atmosphere of the house and others like it on the estate, referring to 12 children and two members of staff allocated to each house. Social Services Refers to Witness 268’s mother and stepfather’s wish to foster and later adopt the child of parents involved in an accident. States that her mother and stepfather had to move into more suitable accommodation before adopting the child, mentioning aid provided by [Patricia] Thornton of Children’s Services [Children’s Officer Patricia Thornton]. Recalls visits to Haut de la Garenne by [Patricia] Thornton regarding Witness 268’s Care. Does not recall visits from other members of Children’s Services staff, apart from John Le Marquand [a member of the Education Committee]. Abuse and Consequences Refers to corporal punishment by [Jersey Female Orphans Home] staff in response to perceived misdemeanours by residents. Events since leaving Care Left Haut de la Garenne at the age of 15 to move in with her family. Describes fear upon leaving Haut de la Garenne and going out into the outside world. Refers to temporary employment near Haut de la Garenne from which Witness 268 was sacked. States that Witness 268’s school helped Witness 268 find a job when she left school. Refers to marriage and children, and difficulties providing her children with a family life due to her own childhood lack of experience of a family life. Details impact of experiences in Care on Witness 268’s employment. Comments on lack of opportunities to develop confidence or independence due to childhood at [Jersey Female Orphans Home] and Haut de la Garenne, and mentions lack of opportunities provided for her to socialise with children outside of residential Care. Refers to occasions, such as visits to the Battle of Flowers, where children would be accompanied by member of staff. Refers to difficulties adjusting to shopping alone, filling the car with petrol, or owning a pet, and regards herself as naïve when leaving the Care of the States of Jersey. Comments on counselling as an aid to process her experiences in Care. Refers to interview by [States of Jersey] Police regarding her experiences in the care of the States of Jersey. Refers to difficulty speaking candidly about her experiences due to the presence of a male officer in the room. Notes impression that the Police were looking to obtain information in relation to sexual abuse, rather than emotional or physical abuse. Refers to hearing about abuse at Haut de la Garenne in the media, and comments on the possibility that the areas deemed out of bounds at Haut de la Garenne may have been used to facilitate the abuse of children, also mentioning the reported discovery of a skull. Provides details recently learnt relating to the identity of Witness 268’s father and Witness 268’s placement in Care. Comments on feeling as though her placement in Care constituted a punishment due to the actions of Witness 268’s parents. Comments that although Witness 268 does not believe that her childhood experiences would happen to a child in Care in the present day, she hopes that by providing evidence to the Inquiry, lessons can be learnt for the future.
Anne Port | Clos de Roncier | Grouville | Gorey Harbour | Grouville Church | Haut de la Garenne | St Martin | adoption | abuse | Beaches | Brownies | Battle of Flowers | corporal punishment | child abuse | childcare | Children | Children's Officers | children's services | children's homes | competitions | counselling | dormitories | domestic duties | evidence | enuresis | emotional abuse | Education | employment | fathers | fostering | Handwriting | Holidays | Hair | injuries | interviews | IJCI | mental health | matrons | meals | mothers | punishments | physical abuse | Police | residents | Schools | Sweets | Soap | Superintendents | stepfathers | solitary confinement | staff | siblings | statements | Television | uniforms | visits | walks | witness statements | witnesses
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