Jersey care inquiry: Sexual abuse 'was common'

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Haut de la Garenne care home
Image caption,
The Haut de la Garenne home eventually closed in 1986

Consensual sex and sexual abuse were both common at the Haut de la Garenne children's home in the 1980s, a care inquiry has heard.

Witness D, now in his 40s, told the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry he was too scared to report the abuse he suffered to the authorities.

He was in the home from 1981 until he left care in 1984.

His testimony suggested there was widespread abuse of residents by other residents.

Much of his evidence was too graphic to repeat but on two occasions he said he witnessed violent sexual attacks on female residents.

The perpetrators were older male residents and in one attack, were accompanied by an older male, Witness D said.

Broken child

He said he was sexually abused by two members of staff, William Gilbert and Phil Le Bais, and was also physically abused by Morag Jordan.

Gilbert and Le Bais were never charged and are both dead while Jordan was jailed in 2010 for other abuse offences at the home.

Witness D said he left care a broken child and the incidents he described were the tip of the iceberg.

Consensual sex between teenage residents was so common that it made abuse easy, he said.

He told the inquiry: "It was a normal thing that was happening. You'd see it happening and little was done about it."

He said he was also regularly abused by an older male he called Child X, but had never reported him to police.

The man said he still refuses to name his attacker because he remains scared of him.

Asked if there was anything he would like to say to the authorities now, Witness D said: "The general public do not realise how bad it was at Haut de la Garenne.

"I hope they have learned that just because you are in a care home does not mean you have done something wrong."

The inquiry continues.

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