The Independent Jersey Care Inquiry has now held its last hearing and it will work towards publication of its final report by the end of 2016. Up to May 2016 the cost of the Inquiry had been £14,270,876 having heard evidence from over 600 witnesses.
The Inquiry began its work in 2014 to establish what went wrong with the Island’s care system and to find answers for people who suffered abuse. In her closing statement Chair of the Inquiry, Frances Oldham QC, said that the final report will not contain findings of fact in respect of individual allegations but “will analyse the evidence as a whole to determine the culture of the relevant institutions and establish whether there were any patterns of abuse or systemic failings that can be identified.”
In working towards early publication of its report the Inquiry has declined offers for further dialogue once it is drafted but before it is finalised. It has also indicated it will not be undertaking a Maxwellisation process (in which parties are given notice of potential criticisms before publication and invited to respond.). That is the main reason cited for the delay in publication of the Chilcot Inquiry. The Chair has noted that criticisms have already been put to the parties and they have had the opportunity to address those criticisms during the course of the hearings.
The focus of the report is anticipated to be on how systems can change and children now can be protected. It will be interesting to see whether there is any mention of redress bearing in mind that there has already been The Historic Abuse Redress Scheme. That was designed to deal with applications for compensation for historic sexual or unlawful physical abuse suffered between 9 May 1945 and 31 December 1994 by children when in the States of Jersey’s full-time residential care. That scheme closed to new claims in September 2012 having received 132 claims. It was however limited to those who had been in full-time residential care for the period specified, unlike the remit of the Inquiry which has been much wider.
Written by Paula Jefferson, Partner