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Jersey’s ‘house of horrors’ children’s home should be demolished, inquiry says

The damning report says the home was a ‘symbol of turmoil and trauma’.

The Haut de la Garenne children’s home in Jersey should be demolished, a long-awaited report into historical abuse and mistreatment of youngsters on the island has recommended.

The home, dubbed “the house of horrors”, was where hundreds of crimes were carried out over decades before it was shut in the 1980s.

The recommendation to consider demolishing its buildings came in an inquiry report detailing the tragic history of abuse on the island.

The inquiry, chaired by Frances Oldham QC, said: “We believe that the buildings at Haut de la Garenne are a reminder of an unhappy past or shameful history for many people.”

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Forensic officers examining a scene at the former children's home at Haut de la Garenne in Jersey (Katie Collins/PA Wire)

It said the home was a “symbol of the turmoil and trauma” of the police inquiry into the abuse.

The report went on: “We recommend that consideration be given as to how the buildings can be demolished and that any youth or outdoor activity or services for children located on the site should be in modern buildings bearing no resemblance to what went before.”

In a damning report, the inquiry said persistent failures existed at all levels in the management, operation and governance of children’s homes in Jersey for decades.

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Forensics Services Manager Vicky Coupland examining the second cellar at Haut De La Garenne, the former children's home on Jersey (Lewis Whyld/PA)

The States of Jersey proved to be an “ineffectual and neglectful substitute parent” for children already placed at a disadvantage in life.

The inquiry also found that some children were put into care without a lawful basis, including for petty theft and for being rude.

And it found that, once in care, children, some of whom suffered physical and sexual abuse, were “effectively abandoned in the care system” and “left powerless for decades”.

The report said there was a long absence of political and professional will in Jersey to monitor care standards.

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