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Compensation scheme launched for 'secure school' abuse victims

Compensation scheme launched for 'secure school' abuse victims

Monday 01 July 2019

Compensation scheme launched for 'secure school' abuse victims


A new year-long scheme to provide compensation to islanders who suffered abuse as children in foster or residential care or while at former youth remand facility, Les Chênes, between 1945 and 2005, has launched today.

The Jersey Redress Scheme will be open for applications for 12 months from today until 30 June 2020.

It is aimed at islanders who were either a resident in a Government of Jersey (formerly States of Jersey) children’s home, in a Government of Jersey foster care placement or accommodated at Les Chênes secure residential unit between 1945 and 2005.

Funding for the scheme has been provided from Central Contingencies in 2019 and approved from the Treasury and Resources, Minister Deputy Susie Pinel.

A previous scheme, launched in 2012, provided compensation to people who suffered abuse or harm in Jersey’s residential care system. That scheme was launched before publication of the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry report which found failings in Les Chênes secure residential unit and government foster case, as well as residential care. 

The launch of this new scheme comes after a high-profile campaign by over 100 former residents of Les Chênes, where children were allegedly beaten, kept from seeing their families and placed in solitary confinement for weeks at a time. 

They were represented by UK lawyer Alan Collins, who threatened to bring legal action against the government if it failed to issue an apology and a compensation scheme to those that had spent time at the ‘secure school'.

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Pictured: Revelations about Les Chênes came in the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry report.

Opened in 1979 and running until the 2000s, Les Chênes was supposed to be a residential home for children with a remand function. However,  the Care Inquiry report noted that all residents – whether young offenders or not – were, “in effect, serving sentences” there.

Some residents alleged that they were subjected to emotional as well as physical abuse – “beaten black and blue”, the Inquiry was told – including by the manager.

The alleged abuse apparently continued from the 1980s into the 2000s.

One child said they viewed another being held by the neck against the wall by a staff member in 2001, while another who was resident between 2001 and 2003 was said to have been put in a headlock by staff. 

In 2004, another child complained of being left in a ‘secure unit’ – an empty room with a mattress and no toilet – for up to nine months. 

Many said they were too scared to speak out, and faced consequences if they did. Others were simply not believed because Les Chênes was viewed as a ‘children’s prison’, filled with “little villains”, according to the secure school’s own Chair of Governors.

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Pictured: The Children and Housing Minister, Senator Sam Mézec, launched the scheme today.

Children and Housing Minister Senator Sam Mézec said: “This new redress scheme recognises that, over a period of many years, the government did not act as it should have to protect children from harm and abuse in foster care and in Les Chênes secure residential unit, as well as residential care. We are sorry that we failed those children and their families.”

More information about the scheme...

How to apply?

You need to complete an application form and submit it to the Redress Team. The application form will ask you questions about your experiences living in a children’s home, foster care or at Les Chênes. You will need to provide as much information as possible to help us process your application.

If the person to whom the application applies lacks capacity, the application form can be completed by the person who is responsible for managing their affairs.

Where are the forms available?

The forms can be found online. Copies can also be obtained by emailing enquiries@redress.je, by phoning 01534 441014 or writing to Redress Team, Morier House, Morier House, Halkett Place, St. Helier.

Forms will also be available from: 

  • Jersey Citizens Advice Bureau, St Paul’s Centre, New Street
  • Customer and Local Services, Philip Le Feuvre House, La Motte Street
  • States Assembly Information Centre, Morier House, Halkett Place
  • Jersey Library, Halkett Place

Where to send the forms?

All application forms must be submitted to the Redress Team at Morier House, Halkett Place, St Helier Jersey JE1 1DD by 30 June 2020 at the latest.

After that date the scheme will be closed to new applications.

Where to get support?

If you have been affected by abuse in residential or foster care and would like to speak to someone, you can contact Victim Support Jersey by calling 01534 440496.

If you want to talk to someone out of hours, you can call Jersey Samaritans on Freephone 116123.

More information on the scheme can be found by clicking here.

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