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.”
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