Petition Reverse the decision to spend £200,000 on the child abuse memorial

Being a survivor of the Child Care Homes that were closed including Haut de la Garenne, I am enraged, along with a large portion of the general public, that £200,000 is going to be spent on a Memorial. This money could be spent elsewhere and do more good than a memorial will ever do.

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Ministers responded

This response was given on 12 March 2020

We understand and appreciate Islanders’ concerns. As a key part of our response to the Care Inquiry, the memorial must be a sensitive focus for reflection and an enduring promise to Jersey’s children.

Read the response in full

We understand and appreciate Islanders’ concerns about the Memorial. As a key part of our overall response to the Care Inquiry, it must be a sensitive focus for reflection and an enduring promise to Jersey’s children.

After a long process of engagement, we are now inviting design proposals which will need to meet the criteria developed by the Citizens Panel:

1. Include an apology
2. Is thought provoking and forever
3. Honours victims and survivors, those lives lost, lives ruined and those who are still suffering
4. Ensures that what happened does not get forgotten and stops the past being repeated
5. Is easily accessible to the public
6. Is highly visible and cannot be ignored. A memorial should be located in a highly prominent position so that all are constantly reminded of the injustice that took place and how the children were failed in the care system. It should remind the Jersey government as the corporate parents (i.e. acting parents), but not shock the survivors and bring back memories
7. Is meaningful to a range of experiences suffered in the whole care system
8. Is a transparent and clear acknowledgment of what happened

The funding allocated for the memorial has not been diverted from frontline services or either of the redress schemes but secured from the £23 million allocated for the Care Inquiry process. This represents a one-off pot of money which is not available for recurring costs such as staff or services for children. Reversing the decision to commission the memorial would not automatically release £200,000 for other children’s projects.

It is important that the community is involved in selecting the final design. We will therefore be holding a public exhibition of shortlisted designs in June, to allow Islanders to share their feedback. This will ensure everyone’s views are taken into consideration when making the final decision. We have not defined what form the memorial should take so applicants can creatively respond to the design brief. It might be a garden, a playground, a sculpture, a fountain or something interactive.

In 2017 the IJCI Panel said that Jersey should create: “some form of tangible public acknowledgement of those that have been ill served by the care system over many decades.” (IJCI report, para 13.22)

This was accepted by the Council of Ministers. Survivors from the Island’s historic care system were recruited to form a Citizens Panel to consider how Jersey should remember this difficult history. In 2019, the returning IJCI Panel praised Jersey’s work to implement their 2017 legacy recommendations:

“We heard from the Citizens Panel, which was set up following the publication of our report, and from the officers who have worked alongside the members of the Panel. Their work has been commendable and we understand that there is a commitment to taking their recommendations forward, with funding having been set aside. The creation of a memorial, of an emblem and the establishment of an annual Children’s day, will be very visible features of remembrance. It will be important that the commitments made are seen through. We hope that there will be widespread respect amongst islanders for what is planned. … we would recommend that the memorial commissioned is a high-quality piece of public art, which attracts interaction with both islanders and the many visitors to the island.” (IJCI 2-year review, para 24)

Over the lifetime of the Government Plan 2020-2023, we are making an additional investment of £42.4 million to deliver our strategic priority of ‘Putting Children First: Supporting and Protecting Children.’ This includes £6.4 million to embed the changes recommended by the IJCI. (GOVERNMENT PLAN 2020–2023: FURTHER INFORMATION ON ADDITIONAL REVENUE EXPENDITURE AND CAPITAL AND MAJOR PROJECTS EXPENDITURE See p. 14)

In February we launched Love Never Leaves, a landmark £1.67 million package of support for children in care and care leavers which underpins the role of Government as a responsible corporate parent. The Care Leavers’ Offer and Support Entitlement for Children in Care will fund the everyday necessities that any loving parent would normally pay for, to ensure that our children are enabled to flourish, regardless of their start in life.

Within the Government Plan priority to ‘Improve Wellbeing’ £16.3 million of additional investment has been allocated for mental health initiatives over the next four years. This will include establishing an effective and sustainable complex trauma pathway of care for adults, including survivors from our historic care system.

As a key element of our wider programme to respond to the recommendations made by the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry, we remain committed to completing the open tender process launched in February and announcing the final design for the Care Memorial in July.

Timeline
July 2017: Independent Jersey Care Inquiry
October 2017: Implementation of the Care Inquiry’s Recommendations - P.108/2017
April 2018: Survivors sought to develop memorial ideas
April 2018: JEP: Care abuse survivors asked to help develop a memorial
July 2018: Citizens Panel Final Report
July 2018: Council of Ministers decision on former Haut de la Garenne site and children's memorial
July 2018: BBC: Jersey Children’s Day suggested for 3 July
July 2018: Channel ITV: Public vote Haut De La Garenne to stay
July 2019: Government Plan 2020 - 2023
July 2019: GOVERNMENT PLAN 2020–2023: FURTHER INFORMATION ON ADDITIONAL REVENUE EXPENDITURE AND CAPITAL AND MAJOR PROJECTS EXPENDITURE
August 2019: The Care of Children in Jersey Review Panel scrutiny review: response from the Jersey Citizens Panel
September 2019: REPORT OF THE INDEPENDENT JERSEY CARE INQUIRY PANEL 2019 (TWO-YEAR REVIEW)
September 2019: Bailiwick Express: Care leavers scold government over memorial inaction
September 2019: Channel 103: Abuse Survivors Frustrated By Government 'Heel-Dragging'
November 2019: Care of Children in Jersey Review Panel - Response to the Care Inquiry: Update Report
February 2020: Summary of Progress: Responding to the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry
February 2020: Designs invited for care memorial

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