Jersey abuse inquiry hears first care witnesses tell of abuse

Giffard Aubin
Image caption Giffard Aubin was in Haut de la Gerenne, then called Jersey Home for Boys, from 1943 to 1951

The Independent Jersey Care Inquiry has heard from its first witness to have been through the island's care system.

Giffard Aubin, 79, described harsh punishments, psychological abuse and bullying between 1943 and 1951.

Giving evidence, he said he was bitter and angry at his treatment and hoped nothing like it would happen again.

Mr Aubin said being in care was austere but relatively happy during World War Two but became "hell" during the post-war years.

The £6.5m inquiry is investigating abuse in Jersey's care system from 1945 to the present day.

Electric shocks

During the war German soldiers made Christmas presents for the boys in care and escorted them to the beach which was out-of-bounds to most islanders.

After the war, diet and clothing improved but the outings stopped and some boys were singled out for mistreatment by the matron, said Mr Aubin.

Insufficient staffing meant bullying by older boys was rife.

"I remember having darts thrown at you - they were different to the darts you get today, much heavier - and if you moved you were hit with an armoury stick, which would cut you," he said.

"I remember wires from a generator [being] put to my legs, which were wet, and having electric shocks."

Mr Aubin said he did not complain for fear of reprisals.

To this day, he said he does not celebrate Liberation Day because he did not feel liberated.

Image caption Mr Aubin said harsh punishment and bullying were routine at the care home

The panel also heard from Violet Renouf, who went into care in 1942, aged six.

She grew up in the Jersey Home for Girls and said stinging nettles were once put in her bed as punishment for bed-wetting.

Mrs Renouf left the home aged 15 and went to work in a large family house without any choice in the matter.

When the family accused her of stealing a ration book, Mrs Renouf said she was sent back to the care home where she was locked in isolation for three weeks.

She said her time in care had affected her relationships with her own children.

Image caption Haut de la Garenne eventually closed in 1986

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