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Haut de la Garenne consultation findings and memorial recommendations announced

04 July 2018

​Almost 94% of the public who responded to a consultation about the future of the former Haut de la Garenne children’s home do not think that the building should be demolished.

The findings of the former Haut de la Garenne site public consultation have been published today, alongside the recommendations from a citizens’ panel to create a memorial for a permanent legacy.

The members of the panel, of whom a significant number were survivors of the care system in Jersey, also agreed unanimously that Haut de la Garenne should not be demolished.

The panel also suggested that the Royal Square should be the place for a memorial, that the anniversary of the Care Inquiry, 3 July, should be designated as ‘Jersey Children’s Day’ and that an emblem, the butterfly, should link all the elements of  the legacy project.

The consultation and memorial project are part of the government’s response to Recommendation 8 of the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry, which identified the need to determine how the failures of the Island’s historic child care system should be recognised and remembered.

Almost 850 people responded to the consultation questionnaire to share their views about the future of the former children’s home.

The findings of the consultation reveal that almost 94% of respondents stated that they ‘strongly disagreed’ or ‘disagreed’ with the recommendation made by the Care Inquiry to demolish the building.

The findings are due to be discussed by the Council of Ministers today and are now available to download from the States website.

Earlier this year, a citizens’ panel was formed to consider how the Island should remember those who were failed by Jersey’s historic care system. The panel, which included a significant number of survivors, worked together for five days to develop a four-part recommendation:

1. Creation of a memorial
2. Designation of 3 July, the anniversary of the Care Inquiry, as ‘Jersey Children’s Day’
3. Help and support for victims/survivors and their families
4. An emblem linking the elements of the legacy together.

To mark the release of their recommendations, members of the citizens’ panel issued a joint statement: 

“We are a group of 14 Jersey residents who responded to the Island-wide call for members of a citizens’ panel. With the help of two independent facilitators we met over five days, our task to create a vision of how best our Island can remember all those who were in care and the suffering they endured. 

“We believe that to move forward we must look back and that to do so all four elements of our recommendations must be implemented.

“This next step will help a heavily divided community to work through its past, well-documented, failings. There has been much loss, pain and, in many cases, irreparable damage done. We have agreed to continue meeting in order to bring our aspirations to fruition.”

In the words of some of our panel members:

“We are the lucky ones: we survived. We will carry the physical and mental scars with us for the rest of our lives, but we survived. This memorial will help us, in part, to remember those who didn't, those for whom the pain was too much and took their own lives.

“We, the people of Jersey, must ensure that this is never allowed to happen again.”

Senator Sam Mézec, the proposed Minister for Children and who is leading the Government’s response to the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry, said: “As per the Care Inquiry recommendations the States of Jersey has considered, in consultation with the public, the future of the former Haut de la Garenne site; the majority of those who responded do not believe that the building should be demolished. I note that the public’s view, that the building should be retained, differs from that of the Care Inquiry, whose recommendation was that we should consider demolishing the former children’s home. The consultation findings will now be carefully considered by Ministers and I expect to make a further announcement on this matter shortly.”

“A year on from the publication of the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry, I also welcome the release of the memorial recommendations developed by the citizens’ panel. I am grateful to the members of the panel, which included a number of survivors, for the journey they undertook together to consider how the Island should formally recognise the legacy of the Care Inquiry, by both acknowledging the past and looking ahead to a better future.”

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