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Latest: Jersey Care Inquiry

The Independent Jersey Care Inquiry is charged with finding out what went wrong in the island's care system, from the end of the Second World War.

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Former care worker says it was 'likely' that children were abused at Jersey care home

A former care worker at Haut De La Garenne has today admitted that it was likely children were abused at the Jersey care home.

But the witness, known as Mr K, denied actually seeing or knowing about any physical or sexual abuse while he worked there in the 1970s and early 80s.

He's the first ex-care worker to give evidence at the inquiry into historical child abuse in the island, which resumed today after a five week break.

Speaking at the Inquiry this afternoon, Mr K said: "I most certainly didn't think [Haut De La Garenne] was abuse free. That would be nonsensical given that people have been convicted, so that's nonsense. I didn't see any cruelty when I worked there....It's highly unlikely that in such a large institution that inappropriate contact didn't happen."

Mr K began helping out at the home in the 1970s and was later offered a job as a child care officer, despite never having any formal child care training.

Instead, he said in the Inquiry that he used more senior staff as role models to base his level of disciplinary action on misbehaving children. They including Jim Thomson and Morag Jordan, both of whom have previously been accused of assaulting children.

Mr K explained that corporal punishment was used at Haut De La Garenne, but in line with public opinion.

He said that he would give "unruly children a tap on the bottom or the back of the legs" with his hand.

Throughout my time working within children's services, there was always a reluctance to use detention rooms or to cane, but at times, it was necessary, not only for the safety of the children but for the safety of others as well.

– Mr K

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