The Jersey Child Abuse Committee of Inquiry has published a (very) short statement (below) declaring that its final report will NOT be published until the first quarter of 2017. This is despite an agreement with the Chief Minister/States that the report will be published before the end of December this year after the Inquiry was given extra funding.
We find this very short statement a little concerning, in that it offers NO explanation(s) as to why there is a delay. Haven't Survivors/Victims been through enough? Why publish a Press Release offering NO answers? Why not wait a little longer and publish a statement explaining the delay? Publishing such a vague Press Release could/will invite speculation and conspiracy theory as to why there is the delay and further uncertainty for the Victims/Survivors.
Will the Chief Minister publish a statement in response, if not, why not? As the COI will be taking up to three months longer than it was agreed in the States, are there any implications coming from this if so what are they? Up toanother three months work might mean the COI will need more money to complete the report? It could just be down to other work commitments of the Panel (or something similar) causing the delay and won't need more money but a valid question nonetheless. Will the funds be available if needed?
Has the Law Offices Department, or Data Protection Office, leant on the Inquiry? Was the December deadline, set by the Chief Minister, an unrealistic target?
The delay could work in favour of Victims/Survivors and Anti Child Abuse Campaigners. It could mean the final report will be that much more comprehensive than originally anticipated. It (the report) won't/can't get buried as easily in January-March as it can over the Christmas period in December.
Press Release from COI:
"The Panel Independent Jersey Care Inquiry is progressing with the drafting of its report into the abuse of children in Jersey's care system over many years. It confirms that the report will be published during the first quarter of 2017 and not at the end of 2016 as previously published. Further information in respect of the publication will be provided in the New Year."(END)
We think it would be unfair to blame the COI for the delay without knowing the reasons for it and Team Voice have a certain amount of confidence in the panel and its final report. We do feel it is a little insensitive to Victims and Survivors to publish such a vague Press Release and hope the panel will (very soon) rectify this by explaining the reasons for the delay.