1. ITV Report

Abuse victims: The fight for compensation goes on

Credit: ITV Channel

Residents of a former secure school in Jersey have told ITV News they fear promises of a compensation scheme from government may never materialise.

It comes three months after ministers pledged to come up with a redress package for those alleging they were abused while locked up at Les Chenes.

The facility closed in 2003.

Last December, the Government of Jersey said they were working on some form of compensation, as victims weren't eligible under a previous scheme which was limited to abuse which happened between 1945 and 1994.

The group from Les Chenes attended between the late 1990s and early 2000s.

One victim, who we're calling David, described his own experience at Les Chenes.

My earliest experience was my first day there. One of the teachers asked me if I liked to wrestle. I didn't understand what he meant. Then he grabbed me and threw into secure. Secure was pretty much where you were all the time when you first got there. If a teacher turned up in a bad mood you knew you were going to have a bad day. That could be just bullying you or it could be all the way up to assault and restraining you with five other full grown men. I refused to come out of my cell once. I'd been there so long I didn't know what day it was. I ended up getting restrained and stripped naked by the teachers and being thrown back in the cell for another 48 hours.

– 'David', former Les Chenes resident

He said he knew of former residents whose lives had been ruined by their experience.

95% of people who's been through those doors is either addicted to drugs, suffers with mental illness, has attempted suicide or is in jail. That's too high a statistic to ignore it. We're 50% less than we were when we went in.

– 'David', former Les Chenes resident

Alan Collins is the lawyer representing former residents. He threatened to sue the government last September if they didn't take action. In December they announced a scheme would be set up.

Many of the former residents of Les Chenes have psychological issues to put it mildly. They have needs that are not being met and the whole idea behind the scheme was to equip these former residents to get the help and assistance that they need.

– Alan Collins, lawyer

The government has told ITV News "work is being done to prepare the scheme and get it up and running but it is a substantial piece of work and doesn't happen overnight."

The Council of Ministers is due to discuss progress when it meets on 3 April.

The brutal regime at Les Chenes emerged during the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry.

It heard allegations of children being bounced like pinballs off the walls. Several witnesses spoke of violent assaults on children, and youngsters lifted in the air by their ears.

  • Gary Burgess speaks to one former resident about his experiences...

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