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Digital copy of Giffard Aubin's witness statement to the Inquiry providing an account of his experiences in care at the Jersey Home for Boys. [Some details redacted].
July 17th 2014 - July 17th 2014
|Scope and Content|
Background and Home Life Recalls living in Gorey with his father next to the Salvation Army Hall during the Occupation, recalling that his father worked for the Parish of St Martin. Recalls that there was a big house near where he lived that was used by the Germans for prostitution, noting that his father voiced his objections to this to the father of one of the girls involved with the house. Jersey Home for Boys Refers to residence at the Jersey Home for Boys between 1941 and 1951, first moving there when he was aged 6 or 6½. States that he was taken to the Home in 1941 after a Centenier stated that his father was unfit to look after children after his father had made the complaint about the house used for prostitution. Comments on lack of court process, power of the Centeniers and lack of appeal process. Includes recollections of the Jersey Home for Boys, commenting on its capacity, multiplicity of reasons for admissions, and the size of the building and grounds. States that boys used to work the land during and after the war, recalling a piggery and a poultry shed and rabbits being kept after the war. Recalls a bell-tower, flagpole, courtyard and wings, boot room, classrooms and dormitories, noting that the windows of the veranda were blocked up with wood during the war. Recalls the windows at the home changing in 1947 and states to have no recollection of cellars or concrete blocks at the Home. [Exhibit GA1: C/D/AW1/A4/3/WS000001/1]. Describes his experience at the Home between 1941 and 1947, recalling that there were three members of staff (a nurse, a Matron and a Superintendent) responsible for 150 boys. Describes the staff’s dependence on senior boys to look after the junior boys, noting problems caused by this. Recalls chores such as washing up, polishing the floors and peeling potatoes, as well as outings and sandcastle competitions. Recalls being allowed to watch silent movies and being entertained by a former resident with his piano accordion during the war. Describes life through the war as hard, referring to shortages of shoes, recalling that people often went barefoot during wartime. Recalls the arrival of a new Superintendent and Matron and additional staff in 1947, commenting on their lack of training or experience. Describes being told that there would be changes at the Home, recalling that shoes and clothing became more readily available. States that life actually got worse at the Home from 1947, noting how privileges were stopped. Recalls that boys running away from the Home was a common occurrence. States of Jersey Recalls being placed in a large military truck with other boys and taken to the General Hospital to be assessed for mental illness. States that [a staff member] regularly took boys to be assessed in the hope that they would be admitted to St Saviour’s Hospital. Recalls being asked by Dr Darling (Medical Officer of Health) why he was being assessed, noting Dr Darling’s anger towards [a member of staff] and his subsequent return to the Home. Comments on boys being admitted to [St Saviour’s] Hospital without due reason. Includes remarks about the States of Jersey, stating that throughout the 10 years he was at the Home he has no recollection of any visit or inspection by the States. Abuse and Consequences Describes being physically abused by senior boys at the Home, recalling an incident where a group of boys electrocuted him and an incident where the older boys threw darts at the younger boys and beat them with an armoury stick. Comments on the impact of the size of the grounds in respect of the bullying behaviour of the senior boys, referring to lack of awareness of incidents. Refers to rumours that [a member of staff] sexually abused some boys but states that he never witnessed any sexual abuse. Describes emotional and physical abuse by the Matron, stating that he was frequently victimised with other boys receiving more favourable treatment. Refers to being made to sleep in the junior boys’ room, being made to do chores at the Home whilst the other boys went swimming and being held back in class. Describes incident where he and other boys absconded after they were made to stay at the Home with nothing to eat whilst other boys went on a trip to Guernsey, noting that he was the only one to be subjected to physical punishment as a result. Asserts that much of the abuse he suffered was due to him having being part of the Salvation Army. Describes physical punishments by staff as frequent, referring to physical chastisement, caning and witnessing boys being thrown into the sea and boys having their mouths scrubbed with carbolic soap and a hard scrubbing brush until they bled. Also recalls being physically abused by other boys at the Home, describing injuries sustained, and describes an incident where a boy received serious injuries after the tent he was in was set alight. Outlines reasons why no one ever spoke out or complained about abuse, citing fear of repercussions and noting that such opportunities to do so were limited and closely supervised by staff and senior boys. Recalls disclosing abuse one occasion to another boy at the Home. Events since leaving Care Notes that when he turned 14 in 1949 he was not allowed to the leave the Home despite this being the usual policy and it have being suggested by his cousin that he could move to his farm to live with him. States that he was kept at the Home until he was 16 and then sent to live in at Les Champs, Mont Cochon where he was badly treated. Recalls doing a lot of housework and going to the Salvation Army for band practice whilst at Les Champs. Recalls that the family at Les Champs placed him on the ferry to Guernsey when he turned 18 with a one-way ticket and no money. States that he spoke to a taxi driver who happened to be in the Salvation Army upon his arrival in Guernsey, who gave him a meal and money to return to Jersey. Recalls having to sleep rough upon his return to Jersey before finding work with, and being taken in by, a farming family from Gorey. Describes effects of being in care, noting that he left care illiterate, unable to tell the time and with no motivation to learn. Notes that he has since studied at Bible College and works at Gorey outreach ministries for the Salvation Army. Describes impact of time in care on his personal relationships, citing upbringing as major reason for the breakdown of both of his marriages. Also refers to having suffered from depression. Describes anger about the treatment he received during his time in care and having been outspoken about this issue. Refers to membership of a political movement called A Time for Change, referring to participation in a demonstration at the Royal Court prior to any significant publicity surrounding the care system in Jersey during which he told his story. States that his time in care has helped him feel compassion towards others.
Gorey | Guernsey | Haut de la Garenne | Les Champs, Mont Cochon | St Martin | abuse | bullying | centeniers | child abuse | Children | children's homes | children's services | classrooms | discipline | Education | electrocution | emotional abuse | German soldiers | Homelessness | IJCI | inquiries | investigations | Occupation | offences | physical abuse | Photographs | Police | Politics | prostitution | protests | residential care | Schools | sexual abuse | Schools | trips | visits | witness statements | witnesses
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