Protest at weekend over abuse victims’ memorial

A PROTEST against the construction of a memorial for those who suffered abuse within Jersey’s care system is to be held this weekend.

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Organised by paedophile-hunter Cheyenne O’Connor, who uses a fake child account online to catch sex offenders, the protest will be held on Sunday at 1pm at the Weighbridge – where the artwork is due to be erected.

The £200,000 memorial has remained a controversial topic since it was recommended by a citizens’ panel – set up in the wake of the 2017 Independent Jersey Care Inquiry to assist and inform government response to the report. Such criticism was reignited earlier this month when three shortlisted designs were revealed.

Earlier this year, a petition to reverse the citizens’ panel’s decision was brought forward by an abuse survivor. It received almost 3,000 signatures.

The survivor, ‘William’, has recently launched another petition to ‘reconsider the childcare memorial’ that already stands at over 1,500 signatures.

William said he still believed a large proportion of abuse survivors were against the memorial.

‘If it goes ahead there will be suicides from survivors who have been triggered,’ he said. ‘Many have gone for help since this memorial was suggested – many have PTSD and this will be nothing but a trigger.

‘They are ignoring those against it for their own political and personal motives.’

William believes it is unlikely that the decision to build the memorial will be reversed.

‘This will go ahead regardless, as it has 100% backing from [Children’s Minister] Sam [Mézec],’ he said.

‘A second petition which has reached over 1,000 in a few days has so far been ignored by the ministers, and a planned protest. If they ignore these, then they are once again repeating history by not listening.’

Meanwhile, Miss O’Connor – who has consistently spoken out against the project – says she is receiving numerous phone calls and messages from abuse survivors ‘who are close to suicide’ and that the memorial is ‘close to pushing them over the edge’.

‘Enough is enough.

‘I won’t have a dead body on my conscious and neither should you,’ she said, calling for Islanders to ‘be the voice for those who are not strong enough to even leave the house at the moment’.

‘It’s an effective way to get people to listen,’ she added.

‘We’ve invited Sam Mézec, who said he will turn up. I think that it’s important that he gets his side across and listens to the other side of things as well.’

The final design for the memorial is to be chosen next month.

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