- Whether those responsible for deciding on which cases to prosecute took a professional approach;
- Whether the process was free from political or other interference at any level.
Thursday, March 13, 2014
COMMITTEE OF ENQUIRY - MARCH 2014 - 1
"THE COMMITTEE OF ENQUIRY "
"DECADES LONG CHILD ABUSE IN THE JERSEY CARE HOME/FOSTER HOMES"
"LETS GET THIS ENQUIRY STARTED"
"MARCH 2011 - MARCH 2014 IS LONG ENOUGH!!!!!"
"AT LAST WE HAVE SOME NEWS"
"THE WEBSITE IS LAUNCHED"
All information concerning the Committee of Enquiry can be found on the website provided here.
As the Committee of Enquiry gets closer to starting there are still many concerns as to how this committee will pan out. The wait for this committee of enquiry must seem like an age for all those concerned. What is important, very important, is that everyone who can give evidence to the committee of enquiry does so. The committee must recieve every piece of oral and written evidence available. It is not for us to judge what the outcome will be at this early stage but concerns have been raised as shown below. I for one will be very interested in those who will offer evidence and those who will decline or simply not show. There must also be a support structure in place for all abuse victims giving evidence as I have no doubt it will be a harrowing experience.
We must again look at the Terms of Reference. I have published them below.
On the 20th December 2013 we emailed Mike Haden, the committees point of contact with our concerns. We are still awaiting for a reply from the enquiry team.
Part Time Investigative Journalist
December 20th 2013
We were pleased that some of the interested parties were able to meet with the panel on Monday, and delighted that the Committee of Inquiry is now moving forward and will be under way at last. We hope that it will fulfil its role of getting to the truth in all aspects of its remit.
May we (through your good self) put a few questions to the panel of a procedural nature arising from our meeting on Monday?
Can the CoI Panel assure us that the Inquiry will not just be about the victims “telling their story” (i.e. truth and reconciliation), but will cover the TOR in full?
Can the CoI Panel assure us that the membership and brief content of all meetings with third parties will be logged, and that the log will be made publicly available?
Will all documents read by or on behalf of the Panel be uploaded to a website immediately, i.e. as soon as possible?
Will all transcripts of hearings held in public be made available within 24 hours on the proposed website?
What privilege will witnesses enjoy when speaking to the Inquiry (e.g. immunity from prosecution under the Island’s Data Protection Law etc.)?
What guarantees will be made available to witnesses coming from outside Jersey regarding immunity from prosecution when arriving in Jersey to speak to the Inquiry?
We would be most grateful if these points could be raised as and when possible, and look forward to the response.
Again, could you please thank the Panel for their time on Monday.
JCLA, Deputy Montfort Tadier, Deputy Trevor Pitman,
Daniel Wimberley, Bob Hill, Rico Sorda
Terms of Reference, as approved by the States of Jersey on 6th March 2013
1. Establish the type and nature of children’s homes and fostering services in Jersey in the period under review, that is the post-war period, with a particular focus on the period after 1960. Consider (in general terms) why children were placed and maintained in these services.
2. Determine the organisation (including recruitment and supervision of staff), management, governance and culture of children’s homes and any other establishments caring for children, run by the States and in other non-States run establishments providing for children, where abuse has been alleged, in the period under review and consider whether these aspects of these establishments were adequate.
3. Examine the political and other oversight of children’s homes and fostering services and other establishments run by the States with a particular focus on oversight by the various Education Committees between 1960 and 1995, by the various Health and Social Services Committees between 1996 and 2005, and by ministerial government from 2006 to the current day.
4. Examine the political and societal environment during the period under review and its effect on the oversight of children’s homes, fostering services and other establishments run by the States, on the reporting or non-reporting of abuse within or outside such organisations, on the response to those reports of abuse by all agencies and by the public, on the eventual police and any other investigations, and on the eventual outcomes.
5. Establish a chronology of significant changes in childcare practice and policy during the period under review, with reference to Jersey and the UK in order to identify the social and professional norms under which the services in Jersey operated throughout the period under review.
6. Take into account the independent investigations and reports conducted in response to the concerns raised in 2007, and any relevant information that has come to light during the development and progression of the Redress Scheme.
7. Consider the experiences of those witnesses who suffered abuse or believe that they suffered abuse, and hear from staff who worked in these services, together with any other relevant witnesses. It will be for the Committee to determine, by balancing the interests of justice and the public interest against the presumption of openness, whether, and to what extent, all or any of the evidence given to it should be given in private. The Committee, in accordance with Standing Order 147(2), will have the power to conduct hearings in private if the Chairman and members consider this to be appropriate.
8. Identify how and by what means concerns about abuse were raised and how, and to whom, they were reported. Establish whether systems existed to allow children and others to raise concerns and safeguard their wellbeing, whether these systems were adequate, and any failings they had.
9. Review the actions of the agencies of the government, the justice system and politicians during the period under review, in particular when concerns came to light about child abuse and establish what, if any, lessons are to be learned.
10. Consider how the Education and Health and Social Services Departments dealt with concerns about alleged abuse, what action they took, whether these actions were in line with the policies and procedures of the day, and whether those policies and procedures were adequate.
11. Establish whether, where abuse was suspected, it was reported to the appropriate bodies, including the States of Jersey Police; what action was taken by persons or entities including the police, and whether this was in line with policies and procedures of the day and whether those policies and procedures were adequate.
12. Determine whether the concerns in 2007 were sufficient to justify the States of Jersey Police setting in train ‘Operation Rectangle’.
13. Establish the process by which files were submitted by the States of Jersey Police to the prosecuting authorities for consideration, and establish –
If, for these purposes, or as a result of evidence given under paragraph 7, in the opinion of the Chairman of the Committee, it would be of assistance that one or more of the prosecution files underpinning any prosecution decision may be examined in a manner to be determined by the Committee.
14. Set out what lessons can be learned for the current system of residential and foster care services in Jersey and for third party providers of services for children and young people in the Island.
15. Report on any other issues arising during the Inquiry considered to be relevant to the past safety of children in residential or foster care and other establishments run by the States, and whether these issues affect the safety of children in the future.