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1,500 sign petition against memorial to abuse victims

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A CHILD abuse survivor has accused authorities and politicians of ignoring and bullying victims as a petition he launched against a memorial attracted more than 1,500 signatures in three days.

The Weighbridge is the proposed site for the memorial Picture: PAUL LAKEMAN. (27270756)

Earlier this month it was agreed that £200,000 would be put aside for a memorial at the Weighbridge to those who suffered abuse within Jersey’s care system.

Following the publication of the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry report, which exposed serious failings in the care system since the 1940s, a citizens’ panel was formed to consider how the Island should remember those who were failed by Jersey’s care system.

The panel recommended that a memorial be created as part of a legacy project to acknowledge victims and their families.

The move has provoked a backlash, with one survivor setting up a petition against the memorial, stating they were enraged by the decision.

Speaking to the JEP, the survivor, who does not wish to be named, said all the memorial would do is reopen old wounds.

They said: ‘It was set up because only a very small minority of victims, nine in total, want this. No other victims had a voice or say in it. Many victims, including myself, have been ignored and bullied by the authorities, politicians and their supporters when reporting things or giving our thoughts on anything to do with abuse in the child care system.

‘This petition gives the voiceless ones a way to be heard and also allows the public to voice their opinion, which they are entitled to as well.

‘It would be a reminder to those survivors of what happened with their time in care. You have to take into account many have managed to move on with their lives, but those scars will still be with them. This memorial proposal has opened up old wounds for many. If this memorial affects just one survivor to the point of it bringing all their terrors back and to the point of them then taking their own life, would it still be worth it?

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‘This money would be best spent supporting those who never came forward, or those who came forward like myself and were – and still are – ignored by politicians and the authorities.’

After a decision was made by the citizens’ panel last month, designers, architects and engineers were invited to submit their ideas for how the memorial would look.

The petition has already surpassed 1,500 signatures, after being launched on Friday, and will now be met with a government response.

A government spokesperson said: ‘The minister will publish his response, as required, in due course.’

Former Bailiff Sir Phillip Bailhache, who has spoken on the cost of the care inquiry in the past, said he was of the same view on the matter as those who signed the petition.

He said: ‘I agree with the survivors. I think there are far better things to spend £200,000 on than something of this kind.’

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