Sunday, 31 January 2010

"Accredited" statistics and "The Jersey Way"

Only the most careful readers of the Jersey Evening Post will have spotted one of the more significant statistics relating to the historic abuse enquiry which emerged in the small print of an article on page two on 26th January 2010.  

A news release, notably by the NSPCC and not by the Jersey government, appears to have forced the disclosure that since the peak of the abuse enquiry the number of child abuse cases coming to the notice of the Jersey authorities each year has increased from 65 to 234.   In other words the official statistics have more than trebled.  

In spite of this massive increase the official Jersey figure is still “just below the national average for a population of our size” according to the Minister for Home Affairs.  

Although nobody would expect penetrating journalism from the JEP, let alone an admission that there may have been a problem of unrecorded child abuse which has existed for decades, the burying of this information in the small print of an article contrasts sharply with their priorities of only four days previously, when they managed to turn comment on Lenny Harpers book-keeping arrangements in to a front page shock headline when two of the Child Abusers that he brought to “justice” failed in their attempt to appeal against their convictions.

Nobody appears to be disputing that the increase is down to the impact of the abuse enquiry when, controversially, and to the rising anger of the Jersey authorities, the police made direct appeals for victims to come forward, and the government agencies charged with the “protection” of children found themselves having to accept, record, and deal with, the real scale of the problem rather than the “pretend” figures which had been used earlier.

Before we become too immersed in the statistics let us not forget that behind every number there is a real child and real suffering.   234 minus 65 equals 169.    That is, one hundred and sixty nine real children every year whose suffering and right to justice would not “officially exist” had it not been for the efforts of the police during the events at Haut de la Garenne and elsewhere.   Any normal person would have thought that a reasonable society would have fallen over itself to reward those who brought protection and justice to these children, and would have viewed harshly those responsible for their “protection” who had hitherto kept the problem under wraps.  

Not so in Jersey.   Lenny Harper, although long retired, is subjected to vitriol and abuse at every opportunity.   Graham Power, who was head of the force at the time, has been suspended for fifteen months without any disciplinary charge being brought.   Meanwhile, Wiltshire police, who are tasked with finding evidence against him in a “no expense spared” investigation funded by the Jersey taxpayer, continue to scrape every available barrel to justify the unjustifiable.    Unsurprisingly the politicians and civil servants behind decades of cover-ups continue to see their careers prosper.   An outside observer might think that Jersey has got its priorities the wrong way around. If so they do not understand the “Jersey Way.”

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Steady on there Voice - if you write reasoned things like this you will be mistaken for real journalists.
Have you been studying at night school or something?

voiceforchildren said...

The last thing Team Voice would wish for is to be mistaken for "accredited" journalists if the local standards are anything to go by.

Have we been studying at night school? No we just have researchers who wish to see justice done, like all the "good" people of this island and further afield.

Ian Evans said...

Ha ha ha, V.F.C perhaps you, or someone, has the figures wrong !!! I am sure it's a lot more than 234, but am still investigating. Will get back to you shortly, after I have finished interviewing victim's. Kindest regards Beanbuster

Anonymous said...

Thats because of the excellent work of David Warcup.

Anonymous said...

dear VFC I think that you need to be more specific with those statistics.I think they might refer to the number of sexual abuse cases investigated by the police in a year,The number of referels to social services far exceeds that number both past and present because there are many forms of abuse.It would be interesting to obtain those statistics perhaps over the past five years.As you say behind every statistic is a real child.

Anonymous said...

"Thats because of the excellent work of David Warcup."

Absolutely agree with you there. It is great to see that he has continued the work instigated by Lenny Harper who made direct appeals for victims to come forward.

The Beano is not the Rag

rico sorda said...

Hi VFJ

Could you put up some more information up concerning those stats. Where does that total 234 come from?

rs

voiceforchildren said...

Rico.

According to the JEP 29 is the number of sex offences against children. 234 is the number of "child abuse referrals". This will include child neglect, a number of non-sexual abuse statistics as well as allegations or suspicions of sexual abuse where a sex offence has not been confirmed. It is usual for a "referral" to be made, and a statistic generated when one of the relevant agencies has concerns regarding a child. Some of the referrals result in a sex abuse investigation, others may have a different outcome, for example a child being placed in care because the parents cannot for whatever reason look after the child properly. So "referrals" are the catch-all statistic which includes everything from lack of food/hygene etc to serious abuse. The sex offence statistic represents the "hard core" of the referral statistics.

A statistical report published by the States Police towards the end of 2008 states "In the first nine months of 2008, the Child Protection Team has received a total of 285 referrals relating primarily to the neglect, physical or sexual abuse of children. This compares with just 113 such referrals in the first nine months of 2007, representing an overall increase of 152%.

Cases connected with the ongoing Historic Abuse Enquiry are not included in these figures, although the publicity surrounding that investigation may have had a knock-on effect in encouraging other victims of abuse to come forward."

The general point to be made about both sets of statistics is that they provide strong evidential support that there has been a long term "hidden problem" which has not been recorded and recognised by the Jersey authorities. It might be that people simply did not have enough beleif in the system of justice to come forward and make a complaint. Or it might be that the relevant authorities were failing to identify, record and address the scale of the problem. Or it could be a mixture of both.

What is clear is that around the time at which the abuse enquiry reached its peak the dam burst and the scale of the problem became too significant to deny.

Whatever the rights and wrongs or the historic abuse investigation there is one aspect on which all of the evidence is unanimous.

Hundrends of vulnerable children whose plight would have previously gone unrecorded are now officially recognised, and, to a varying degree, are receiving the support and protection of the authorities.

GeeGee said...

Thank God for Lenny Harper, his team and Stuart Syvret for highlighting these issues enabling more recognition of a problem which had been 'hidden' for far too long.

And still these people are villified........?!

Anonymous said...

Yer thank god for Lenny Harper - hallelujah.