Timeline: Jersey child abuse allegations

Timeline: Jersey child abuse allegations

2006 – Police begin covert investigation into historic child abuse allegations at the former Haut de la Garenne children’s home, which closed in 1986, and the Jersey Sea Cadets.

August 2007

  • Community Care receives an anonymous call alerting a reporter to child protection concerns on the island. The then health and social services minister on the island, Stuart Syvret goes on the record, as does UK social worker Simon Bellwood. Syvret and Bellwood give information on an “abusive” system of solitary confinement allegedly used at the Greenfields secure unit on the island. Bellwood claims he was sacked from his post as manager of Greenfields after criticising the system, known as grand prix. These concerns are not related to the police inquiry which has yet to go public.
  • Community Care’s story is picked up by The Times, the BBC, the Metro and The Guardian.
  • The Jersey government appoint UK social work expert Andrew Williamson to conduct a three-month review of child protection on the island.

September 2007

  • Stuart Syvret appoints June Thoburn, emeritus professor of social work at East Anglia University, as the new chair of Jersey’s child protection committee.
  • Syvret invites the Howard League for Penal Reform to review the island’s secure services.
  • Stuart Syvret is officially sacked from his ministerial post over allegations concerning his behaviour towards social services staff, ministers and civil servants. But Syvret claims he has been “sacked for whistleblowing” and accuses state members of “whitewashing” his concerns over children’s services.

November 2007 – Jersey police make their child abuse investigation public and call for more witnesses.

February 2008 – A fragment of what is believed to be a child’s skull is found as police excavate the site of Haut de la Garenne as part of their investigation. This information is leaked to the press, sparking a worldwide media frenzy.

March 2008

  • Simon Bellwood settles in his employment tribunal and inquiry into his dismissal is promised. His former manager at Greenfields, Joe Kennedy, who introduced the grand prix system, is suspended pending an internal management investigation.
  • Andrew Williamson makes interim statement on his review suggesting that children on the island are not currently at risk.

What’s next:

• Police continue search of Haut de la Garenne site
• Further arrests in relation to Haut de la Garenne
• Final report of Andrew Williamson
• Howard League for Penal Reform review of secure services on the island

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