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States agree additional £5.5 million for children’s services following damning report

States agree additional £5.5 million for children’s services following damning report

Wednesday 18 November 2015

States agree additional £5.5 million for children’s services following damning report

The Government has pledged an additional £5.5 million next year for children’s services after an independent report criticised Jersey’s handing of sexual abuse cases.

A Thematic Serious Case Review published by the Safeguarding Children Partnership Board highlights failings in child protection in the cases of three families over the past 10 years.

Glenys Johnston OBE, Independent Chair of the Safeguarding Children Partnership Board, said: “The sexual abuse of children is committed by adults in every society, which means that it is not a problem that is unique to Jersey, and that there is also no reason to assume that it does not and will not happen here.

“The question of why and how it has happened in these particular cases is one that is addressed in the thematic review, along with the often complex reasons for these abuses having remained unidentified for so long.”

The review identified six themes: failure to identify sexual abuse; ineffective supervision and management; lack of professional challenge and effective communication; drift and delay; lack of or inappropriate focus; and failure to listen to children or take their wishes and feelings seriously.

The author went on to make a number of recommendations to address each of these themes in turn. These included giving staff more training to ensure they recognise sexual abuse and know how to raise concerns; improving staff supervision and management; regularly reviewing safeguarding procedures; and ensuring children’s wishes and feelings are taken into account about decisions regarding their ongoing care.

Mrs Johnston added: “Small island communities offer many advantages to families and children; however, they can find it difficult to accept that sexual abuse can happen where they live. The most important thing to remember is that safeguarding is ‘Everybody’s Business’ and is not solely the responsibility of front-line practitioners.”

In total the report made 31 recommendations relating to children’s social work, education, the Police, Law Officers, GPs and voluntary organisations.

Speaking on behalf of the Children and Vulnerable Adults Policy Group, Senator Paul Routier MBE, said: “I would like to say sorry to these children and their families. I would also like to thank them for participating in the SCR process; their insights have contributed greatly to our understanding of what happened and why. 

“This thematic review, like all serious case reviews, is about being open and transparent. It is not about apportioning blame. Services will not improve if we do not allow people to learn lessons.”

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