Friday, 28 October 2011

Alleged child abuse victims to sue at High Court

Jersey News from ITV Channel Television - Haut de la Garenne child abuse compensation case
Above: Haut de la Garenne


A group of people who claim to be victims of mental and physical abuse at the Haut de la Garenne children's home in Jersey are to sue the States at the High Court in London.

They want compensation for the abuse they claim to have suffered and are angry over delays in the island over hearing their case, which hit the headlines more than three years ago.

Alan Collins, Solicitor-Advocate of Hampshire solicitors, Verisona, who is acting for 38 victims, said the cases - which will each be brought on an individual basis - have taken too long to be heard in Jersey.

Mr Collins explained: "In spite of assurances from the States of Jersey that there would be an attempt to address the victims’ claims outside the adversarial process, no proposals have been forthcoming and as far as I am concerned, no serious attempt at dialogue let alone negotiation
has been made by the States of Jersey.

"The victims’ cases have been treading water for far too long. Many have had to give evidence in
criminal proceedings which has resulted in abusers being convicted. This was a harrowing experience. They have shown great fortitude and patience with the States of Jersey, and so they can be forgiven for concluding, given the complete failure to attempt to resolve the claims on its part, that enough is
enough.

"Let’s get the case before the court and allow the judge to decide whether we should be
compensated."

Mr Collins explained that damages are being
sought for the pain and suffering arising from the physical and sexual abuse sustained whilst the clients resided at Haut de la Garenne. Many were abused by members of staff - some of whom have been convicted. He argues that the States as the employers are legally responsible for the abuse committed by the staff, and as a consequence, should compensate the victims.

Jersey’s historic abuse investigation ran from September 2007 until December 2010 with the conviction of married couple Morag and Tony Jordan, who were house parents at Haut de la Garenne in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Others were suspected of abuse going back 70 years but died before they could be prosecuted.

We have contacted the States and are awaiting their response to the above.

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