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Digital copy of Jean Pamela Neil’s statement to the Inquiry providing an account of her experiences in care at Westaway Crèche and [Jersey Home for Girls]. [Some details redacted].
September 22nd 2014 - September 22nd 2014
|Scope and Content|
Background and Home Life Refers to birth in 1935, mother, father, sisters and brothers. Refers to father’s alcoholism, father’s injury to a brother, and father’s stabbing of Jean Neil’s uncle. States that the Police attended the family home, and discovered Jean Neil and a sister in a cot. Refers to sister’s death from starvation, and removal of children form the house to St Helier Hospital [Jersey General Hospital]. Refers to parents imprisonment for ill treating their children, and father’s sentence for sexual abuse. Institutions Lived at Westaway Crèche as a young baby until the age of 6, whilst her sisters were sent to Grouville Home for Girls [Jersey Home for Girls]. Refers to images of herself whilst at Westaway Crèche [see Exhibit JPN1: C/D/AW1/A4/9/WD000157/1], and provides details of the layout of Westaway Crèche and the playground [see Exhibit JPN2: C/D/AW1/A4/9/WD000157/2]. Provides details of the daily routine at Westaway Crèche, mentioning breakfast, playtime, walks, beaches, lunch, and singing, mentioning Shirley Temple’s “On The Good Ship Lollipop”. Recalls around 30 to 50 children at Westaway Crèche, and the sharing of second hand toys. Recalls how others at Westaway Crèche assumed that Jean Neil’s parents were German officers. Does not recall corporal punishment at Westaway Crèche, and comments on overall positive experiences whilst there. Refers to a Jersey Evening Post Article dated 1 December 2006 regarding Julia Westaway and the establishment of Westaway Crèche due to her act as benefactor [see Exhibit JPN3: C/D/AW1/A4/9/WD000157/3]. Moved to the Grouville Home for Girls [Jersey Home for Girls] at the age of 6, after being told she was going to a party at a big house and needed to pack a little case. Recalls being informed of rules at [Jersey Home for Girls] by an individual described as a witch, mentioning a pair of scissors carried around by the individual. Upon arrival at [Jersey Home for Girls] was introduced to one of her sisters. States that only after leaving [Jersey Home for Girls] was she aware she also had brothers. Recalls being shown to her room, mentioning furniture and the distribution of around 8 girls of roughly the same age to each room. Comments on her separation from her sisters due to the difference in their ages. Provides details of the layout of [Jersey Home for Girls], mentioning steps, entrance, sitting room, cash office, surgery, staff stairs, sweets cupboard, staff dining room, sewing room, backstairs, kitchen, garden, fields, dormitories and staff bedrooms [see Exhibit JPN4: C/D/AW1/A4/9/WD000157/4]. Provides details of the daily routine at [Jersey Home for Girls], mentioning waking up at 6 o’clock in the morning, checks in case girls had wet their beds during the night, chores such as sweeping or cleaning toilets, education at Grouville School, chores such as cleaning shoes, dinner, playtime, and bed at 7 o’clock in the evening. Recalls girls lining up in numerical order to be handed clothes for the rest of the week each Sunday. Refers to a series of short articles from newspapers dated late 1930s referring to the Jersey Home for Girls [see Exhibit JPN5: C/D/AW1/A4/9/WD000157/5], and a photograph of some [Jersey Home for Girls] residents [see Exhibit JPN6: C/D/AW1/A4/9/WD000157/6]. Provides details of punishments at [Jersey Home for Girls], commenting on their increasing severity, and the introduction of new staff when Jean Neil was around 11 years old. Refers to the distribution of extra chores as a form of punishments, as well as the peeling of potatoes and standing in the corridors at night. Comments on punishments after scrumping apples, and stealing fruit from the vicar’s garden after taking part in the choir at Grouville Church. Recalls punishments after frightening staff by climbing onto the roof of [Jersey Home for Girls] and necessitating the arrival of the Fire Brigade. Refers to an article in the Jersey Evening Post dated 1993 mentioning such incidents [see Exhibit JPN7: C/D/AW1/A4/9/WD000157/7]. Comments on the poor standard of food at [Jersey Home for Girls], and refers to sweets at [Jersey Home for Girls] being kept by staff. Provides details of education at Grouville School, mentioning that residents from [Jersey Home for Girls] would attend in second hand clothes and ill fitting shoes. Recalls ripping the new dresses of children who teased her, resulting in caning at school. Refers to a male member of Grouville School staff’s relationship with a member of [Jersey Home for Girls] staff, resulting in actions at school being reported to staff at [Jersey Home for Girls], and further punishment for residents when they returned from school. States that Jean Neil did not report treatment at [Jersey Home for Girls] to staff or friends at Grouville School due to fear her complaints would be forwarded to staff at [Jersey Home for Girls] and further punishments would ensue. Refers to physical education lessons on a Saturday morning taught by a male member of Grouville School staff. Absconded from [Jersey Home for Girls] at the age of 14 along with other residents for 10 days, during which they stole food, disguised themselves when speaking to Police, and noticed posters requesting information regarding their abscondence appearing around the island. Returned to a Police Station after 10 days, but ran away when a Police Officer attempted to arrange transport for the girls to [Jersey Home for Girls]. Refers to recapture, and return to [Jersey Home for Girls] where residents were punished. Recalls remaining at the Police Station for 24 hours for further questioning before returning to [Jersey Home for Girls] and being placed in a punishment room for two weeks. Social Services Does not recall visits from members of Children’s Services or from other individuals whilst at [Jersey Home for Girls Abuse and Consequences Provides details of emotional and physical abuse as punishment for wetting the bed at [Jersey Home for Girls] mentioning that children would then be sent to school without washing. Refers to physical abuse by [Jersey Home for Girls] staff who suspected residents were talking about them. Provides details of physical abuse as a form of corporal punishment, mentioning punishments taking place each Saturday evening at [Jersey Home for Girls]. Names staff members responsible for punishments. States that another form of punishment at [Jersey Home for Girls] was for a member of staff to submerse a child into a bath containing ice blocks. Provides details of sexual abuse by a woman suspected to be friends with [Jersey Home for Girls] staff. Provides details of physical and sexual abuse by staff at night. States that due to embarrassment Jean Neil did not refer to the sexual abuse during her interview at her local Police Station in the present day, due to the Police Officers and Counsellor being local people. Refers to sexual abuse of [Jersey Home for Girls] residents by their male physical education teacher. Events since leaving Care Left [Jersey Home for Girls] at the age of 15, and commenced employment with a family until the age of 18. States that the family were unkind and expected Jean Neil to complete work both inside the house and on their farm, as well as tidying up after parties. Notes that despite leaving [Jersey Home for Girls], Jean Neil was still under the care of [Jersey Home for Girls], and that she would be sent back to [Jersey Home for Girls] if incidents occurred whilst she was in Service. Comments on free time on a Wednesday whilst in Service, spent with friends. Notes that contact had been lost with sisters by the time Jean Neil was in Service. Obtained employment as a nurse at Jersey Hospital at the age of 18, subsequently falling ill with appendicitis and being placed in intensive care. Recalls being instructed that due to malnourishment in early life, nursing would not be a suitable career for her. Applied to work at Westaway Crèche, noting the passing of the Children’s Nursery Test. Worked at Westaway Crèche until marriage, and provides recollections of children and parents associated with Westaway Crèche. Comments on distress for Jean Neil regarding children leaving Westaway Crèche, mentioning that some went to Haut de la Garenne. Names staff at Westaway Crèche, and does not recall meeting any Children’s Officers whilst employed there. Refers to the demolition of [Jersey Home for Girls] during 1993, mentioning an article from the Jersey Evening Post dated 1993 and titled “Demolition of Grouville Annexe gets under way” [see Exhibit JPN8: C/D/AW1/A4/9/WD000157/8]. Approached Jersey [States of Jersey Police] CID [Criminal Investigation Department] following media reports of police investigations at Haut de la Garenne. Recalls visits from Police Officers, and recalls process of making statement to Police in April 2008 [see Exhibit JPN9: C/D/AW1/A4/9/WD000157/9]. Recalls presence of a counsellor at Police interviews, and describes process as difficult but therapeutic. States lack of awareness of prosecutions or action taken as a result of her evidence. Refers to contact by a solicitor regarding possible compensation for abuse suffered by Jean Neil. Recalls applying the redress scheme [Historic Abuse Redress Scheme], using her statement to Police as support for her claim for compensation. Refers to payment, and suggests that the payment did not compensate her in any way for suffering caused. Wrote a book regarding experiences in Care and throughout life entitled “Chairbound to Heaven Bound”, published in 2012. Refers to hope her book will help others. Recalls taking part in a book signing in Jersey, and contact from the Jersey Evening Post regarding advertising the book signing. Refers to interview by the Jersey Evening Post, mentioning focus on abuse in Jersey. States that she did not keep a copy of the article that followed the interview. Refers to visit to Jersey Archive, mentioning that staff were unable to provide Jean Neil with documents created after the late 1930s. Refers to the absence of the female member of staff Jean Neil would usually speak with, and a letter from the female member of staff apologising for Jean Neil’s experience. Notes that within the letter were a list of documents able to be viewed relating to Westaway Crèche and Grouville Home for Girls [Jersey Home for Girls] [see Exhibit JPN10: C/D/AW1/A4/9/WD000157/10]. Confirms willingness to provide oral evidence to the Inquiry if required to do so.
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