Editorial Comment: Island’s tragic secrets

The Jersey government’s response to allegations of child abuse at a secure unit on the island was telling: sack the minister and the social worker who blew the whistle. Now it appears that these allegations, first revealed in Community Care last summer, are merely the tip of the iceberg. A child’s remains have been found buried at another former children’s home there and police fear that others may have died in equally suspicious circumstances.

Earlier this week Jersey chief minister Frank Walker again accused ousted former health minister Stuart Syvret of playing politics by raising his concerns about abusive practices. Not only is this unhelpful, it is symptomatic of the culture of secrecy surrounding services on the island.

Walker says Jersey’s children are now safe. But, until there is proper external scrutiny of services, no one can be sure. Andrew Williamson’s impending inquiry report will hopefully be a start.

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Mark Ivory

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