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Care abuse survivors asked to help develop a memorial

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ABUSE survivors failed by Jersey’s child care system are being invited to help develop a memorial remembering those that suffered in care.

Demolition of Haut de la Garenne would cost in the region of £750,000

As part of recommendations made by the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry last year, it was suggested that a permanent memorial be installed in Jersey to ‘acknowledge the realities of the past and speak to the future aspirations of the Island’.

The memorial will be designed to serve as a reminder and ‘public acknowledgement’ of the hundreds of young people who suffered in the Island’s care system over a number of decades.

Those chosen to join the group to take part in the project will work with a panel of experts before developing their ideas for an appropriate memorial. This could be anything from a garden, sculpture or fountain to a bursary scheme.

The group will not design a specific memorial, however they may comment on the sort of site that would or would not be considered suitable and the form the memorial should take.

The final recommendations will then by presented to the new Council of Ministers.

Last summer the inquiry report laid bare the shocking truth of the Island’s failure to protect its children with the panel, chaired by Frances Oldham QC, making eight core recommendations.

Jersey’s director of children’s policy Andrew Heaven said: ‘It is really important that survivors who experienced abuse in Jersey’s child care system are part of the process to develop recommendations for a memorial, so their voices are heard.

‘I would like to reassure anyone who might be interested in taking part that they will not be identified and will not be asked to share their story with others.’

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Independent research firm Contact Consulting will lead the scheme and the first phase of the project is expected to cost £28,500.

Peter Bryant, Contact Consulting’s senior associate, said: ‘I would like to encourage anyone who experienced abuse while in Jersey’s child care system to consider taking part. You do not need any special skills or knowledge to take part, all you need is to be willing to talk about your views and opinions and to listen to those of other people.’

Meanwhile, a ten-week consultation on whether to demolish Haut de la Garenne – seen by a many as a symbol of the failures in the Island’s care system – came to an end on Sunday.

The consultation came after the inquiry recommended that consideration should be given to demolishing the former residential home, which it said served as a ‘reminder of an unhappy past or shameful history’. It is estimated it would cost about £750,000 to demolish Haut de la Garenne, which was built in the 19th century, and to return the site to a field. A report on the outcome of the consultation is expected to be published in July.

Anyone interested in taking part in the memorial project should call 447919 or email carememorial@gov.je by Tuesday 1 May. More information is available online at www.gov.je/carememorial.

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