Abuse victims ‘need specialist help’

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THE States should be prepared to fund specialist psychological help for people who suffered abuse while in care in Jersey, a clinical psychologist has said.

Clinical psychologist Tina Baker

Tina Baker worked at the General Hospital from 1991 to 2004 and set up a service for people who had been sexually abused.

She says that, as far as she is aware, the specialist ‘integrated approach’ she developed during that time is no longer available.

Ms Baker, who is now retired, is concerned that the publicity surrounding the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry will have caused considerable distress to those who suffered abuse as children, some of whom came forward to give evidence.

‘This brings it all back, like a scab that is weeping again, and it needs someone to help it to heal,’ she said. ‘These people have suffered enough and they deserve the help.

‘It needs to be someone qualified, who knows all the therapies and who has the time to give – not a counsellor or hypnotherapist or a counselling psychologist, but a clinical psychologist, particularly for the more severe cases where there is concern about an overlap of psychiatric conditions.

‘It needs someone who has done this work before, even if they have to come from England.’

Susan Devlin, managing director for community and social services, said that since 2008 a full-time psychologist post had been in place to help those affected while living in Haut de la Garenne, with monthly clinical supervision and consultation for psychologists provided by the Tavistock Centre for Trauma.

She added that immediately following the publication of the care inquiry report in July, a 24-hour helpline had been set up offering telephone, email and face-to-face support. Ms Devlin said that ‘significant investment’ had already been made through the Mental Health Strategy, such as the Jersey Recovery College and Jersey Talking Therapies while two primary mental health workers had been assigned to schools and funding given to the local NSPCC programme working with child survivors of sexual abuse.

She added: ‘Our services will be part of the changes needed, as outlined in the recommendations of the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry report. Additional resources will be considered as part of these recommendations.’


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