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Abuse Survivors Frustrated By Government 'Heel-Dragging'

The Royal Square was identified as the first choice site for the memorial, but there's no update on if it can be erected there.

A member of the panel created to make sure survivors of abuse in Jersey's care system are respected says the government has been 'cherry-picking' and partially blocking its work.

The Jersey Citizens Panel is creating an emblem and memorial, as well as ways of marking the first-ever Jersey Children's Day next year.

The Care Inquiry panel has commended the Citizens Panel's work and called on politicians to make sure these commitments are followed through.

"We hope that there will be widespread respect amongst islanders for what is planned. In our view, the proposed Children’s Day should have ongoing contemporary meaning for the island’s children and be forward-looking.

"Similarly, 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, in a similar way to how the fountain and statue in Liberation Square are experienced."

William from the panel says it's time for action.

"They're (the government) taking a lot of time, dragging of heels kind of thing. We're still waiting for a permanent place to put the memorial and we can't actually go through with designing and planning it before we have somewhere to sight it.

"We've had funding promised for Children's Day, we've had funding promised for the memorial itself, it's just the site. It's the advocacy thing where we've talked and talked and heard from specialists but nothing has happened."

Despite welcoming the panel's findings in this area, the Citizens Panel disagrees with the repeated plea for former children's home Haut de la Garenne to be demolished.

A public consultation revealed that most islanders want the building to stay up.

But the Care Inquiry panel said this week it should be torn down because of the negative perceptions it will continue to fuel - and also said the design of the building made some of the abuse 'possible to conceal'.

However, William disagrees.

"It wasn't the building that was the problem, it was the people that worked there. Nine out of ten people I've spoken to want to keep the building. It's a war memorial, it's got two memorials to the boys that went to the war and never returned.

"There was a similar building for the girls at the bottom of Grouville Hill and they demolished that and put four ugly houses there. It's a lovely building and I don't see why it should be demolished."

The site is now home to Jersey Activities & Accommodation Centre.

The government says it will address the report's findings soon.

"Ministers are continuing to read and discuss the report this week and a full response will be issued once everyone involved has had the opportunity to meet and discuss the report in more detail. This response is likely to be at the end of this week or early next week."

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