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EDM 1059 - makes a rapid start

This is the EDM that I have tabled in discussions with the Care Leavers Association. Their press release said:

The Care Leavers’ Association, the only organisation in the UK that represents all adults who were in care as children, notes with anger and concern, but not surprise, the revelations of a death, and widespread abuse, in the Haut de la Garenne children’s home in Jersey.

Many of our members are the victims of physical and sexual abuse in care in the UK during past decades. Despite several inquiries, there has never been a proper accounting for the abuse that took place across the United Kingdom in the twentieth century and there remain many unanswered questions. The Jersey case is the latest in a long line of abuse scandals afflicting the child care system in the UK. That is why we fully support the following Early Day Motion tabled in the House of Commons on 27th February 2008 by John Hemming M.P:

This House notes with sadness the revelations from Jersey on children in care; recognises that English local authorities have placed children in Jersey; recalls that there have been numerous proven reports of abuse in care in England; endorses the call of the Care Leavers Association for a Public Inquiry into abuse in care; and calls for the law to be changed to ensure that children can speak out about their treatment in care in all circumstances prior to adulthood.

We note the words of former Jersey Health Minister, Stuart Syvret, that this discovery is “not surprising”. Nor is it surprising that both Senator Syvret and former care worker Simon Bellwood were forced out of their posts for doggedly pursuing abuse allegations on Jersey. Denial and cover-up have been a relentless feature of the history of past abuse in the child care system in the UK. In the circumstances, the claim of the Jersey First Minister that “children today in Jersey are safe from this type of abuse” is complacent beyond belief. This was the same First Minister who led calls for the sacking of Stuart Syvret for his courageous stand in revealing past abuse.

We call for a Commission of Inquiry into past abuse in the UK child care system; the evidence of adults who spent time in care as children should be at the centre of the inquiry. We are not confident that current safeguards are adequate for protecting children from abuse, in Jersey or elsewhere. Until there has been proper recognition and acknowledgement by the State of the inadequacies of the past, there must remain major question marks over the present.

It has managed 6 signatures on Day 0. That is before the EDM is printed and circulated. EDMs are circulated on blue paper every day if they are tabled or have new signatures and also once a week on the same basis (Wednesday). There are, however, a few MPs that look at tabled EDMs before they are printed (and before they go on EDMI).


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