An independent investigation is to be held to establish why it took the police so long to act on reports of physical and sexual abuse against three young boys in Jersey.
The review will be led by the Safeguarding Partnership Board - a body independent of Government and Police, which investigates what lessons can be learned when there are safeguarding failings. A timeline for the review is yet to be provided.
As Express reported last week, despite several direct complaints being made to officers about the parents’ behaviour, it was four years before they were arrested and a probe opened last year.
Over the preceding years, numerous safeguarding alerts were raised by teachers, medics and other professionals, ranging from concerns about unusual injuries to displays of violence and “extreme” sexualised behaviour.
While a criminal probe is still ongoing, the Royal Court was last November asked to consider how the children should be cared for.
After hearing evidence a psychological professional that they may “sadly never recover” among other witnesses, the Royal Court found that the brothers had suffered neglect and physical abuse, that the parents had “encouraged” sexual activity at home and allowed their children to watch “harmful and inappropriate video material”. They subsequently decided that the family should be split up for the children’s safety.
In its judgment, the Royal Court said that it was “surprising to say the least that [the parents had] not been investigated and prosecuted for an offence” under the Children’s Law, given the “wealth of evidence of harm to which the children have come over the past years, supported comprehensively by expert evidence”.
The court also heard that two of the children had separately alleged that they had been recorded doing sex acts.
Pictured: The Royal Court said it was "surprising to say the least" that Police had taken so long to investigate and prosecute the parents.
While Police began investigating in the first half of 2021, at which point the children were taken into care, the parents were not arrested and interviewed until the end of July.
In court, the officer leading the investigation “accepted that the recording devices could have been disposed of in the two-and-a-half months between the investigation beginning and the parents being arrested and interviewed and that a search warrant could have been sought for the purpose of the devices being seized well before they were.”
Police declined to comment when contacted by Express last week due to the ongoing criminal investigation.
Pictured: Chair of the Safeguarding Partnership Board conducting the review, Sarah Elliott.
The Government yesterday issued the following statement: “Due to an ongoing investigation into this case, as well as the need to protect the identity of the children involved, we are limited as to any comment we can provide.
“We can however confirm that the Safeguarding Partnership Board will undertake an independent Serious Case Review into the circumstances.”
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