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One of the UK's leading experts on child abuse, Manchester based Peter Garsden, has today expressed his concern over a statement given by David Warcup, the deputy chief police officer leading the investigation into child abuse allegations at Jersey's Haut de la Garenne children's home. The original investigation was launched in 2006 but the home, which was later turned into a youth hostel, received major publicity in February this year upon the discovery of supposed human remains.

In a press briefing on Wednesday 12th November Warcup said the island's former deputy chief officer, Lenny Harper, was wrong in suggesting youngsters might have been murdered and dismembered at Haut de la Garenne children's home, which closed in 1986. He went on to say: "There is no suggestion there has been murder or any bodies destroyed."

Peter Garsden, whose company represents child abuse victims across the UK believes Warcup's statement casts doubt on the entire investigation and could be damaging to child abuse victims both in Jersey and nationally.

Commenting on the press briefing Mr Garsden said: "I have been very disturbed by recent news coming out of Jersey about the Haut de la Garenne investigation, and the effect it will have upon the very brave survivors of abuse who have come forward many years after the event, in order to uncover what appears to be a scandal of large proportion.

"Having been involved in child abuse work, and historical allegations at many institutions in the North West of England for over 10 years, I have witnessed in the past many attempts to discredit investigations of this type by those accused of abuse. Attacks have been made upon not only the police, but also experts, and the legal profession acting on behalf of the survivors. If one can discredit the investigators, then the force of any accusations is minimised, and the collective strength of the witnesses is weakened.

"In 2002 the Home Affairs Select Committee acceded to pressure to investigate 'alleged false allegations of abuse in children's homes', in which I was involved. Thankfully the government rejected most of the suggestions made by the enquiry, none of which have been implemented, largely because not enough evidence was taken from those who were actually abused.

"My concern is for the victims not only of the Jersey investigation, but also the thousands of other victims around the country, and the inevitable psychological effect it might have upon them. Abuse tends to cause a lack of trust in other human beings, and ruins any inter-personal relationships, particularly with those in authority. Any trust built up in the police will inevitably have been damaged by the recent revelations particularly because they relied in some part on witness testimony. Hopefully it will not cause them to lose heart, and suffer psychological harm."

Jim Browne, 50, is represented by Peter Garsden and was abused as a child in the early 1970's at St Aidans children's home located in Widnes until its closure in 1983. As a survivor of abuse himself he sympathises with those who suffered at the Jersey care home. When asked about his views on the latest statement from the Jersey police he said: "Having heard the news regarding the Jersey abuse victims, it made me feel sick and angry inside, knowing that these victims have taken the time and the heartbreak to disclose their abuse, only to be abused once again by the political obstruction within the Jersey oligarchy, who are now trying to crush and silence any evidence from Lenny Harper who brought most of this into the public eye.

"I have known from the start that this investigation would be flawed and stopped by theJersey oligarchy. I think it would be only fair of me to say, that too many people in high places in Jersey have so much to hide and so much to lose if this investigation was to go ahead to find the truth.

"This can also have a backlash on the victims and survivors here on the mainland who themselves wish to disclose their abuse, but now they could have second thoughts and live the rest of their lives in silence and pain."



   Peter Garsden and Paul McDonald formed Abney Garsden McDonald in 1985. From their Head Office in Cheadle Hulme they offer a comprehensive range of legal services. Since 1994 the firm has developed a niche market in child abuse compensation claims and now has the UK's largest dedicated Child Abuse compensation claims department. Peter is one of the founder members of a nationwide group called A.C.A.L. (Association of Child Abuse Lawyers). Peter has substantial media experience and is currently the Co-ordinating Solicitor for most the North West Child Abuse Group Actions. Paul McDonald retired from the partnership in February 2007.

   Jim Browne runs Fire in Ice 2005 which is a Merseyside based self-help project for both male and female non offending adults, who have experienced childhood abuse and/or adult sexual assaults.





Media contacts:


Peter Garsden

Abney Garsden McDonald Solicitors


Office: 0161 482 8822

Mobile: 07721 585202

Home: 01625 615112


Claire Donoghue

Abney Garsden McDonald Solicitors

PR Manager

Office: 0161 482 8822


Jim Browne

Fire in Ice 2005

Home: 0151 286 3270 
Mobile: 07973697843.