Call for abuse victim 'freedom'

April 7, 2009 / BBC News

Victims of child abuse should not be restricted from talking about their experiences, a Jersey senator has said.

Senator Stuart Syvret is asking the States to guarantee that, in future, it will not "seek, offer or impose" any confidentiality clauses on victims.

The police are investigating claims of child abuse in Jersey from the early 1960s to 1986.

No date has yet been set for Senator Syvret's proposed policy to be debated in the States.

'Freedom of expression'

Senator Syvret said his States projet, or motion, is necessary to make sure child abuse victims are free to speak out, regardless of any legal compensation agreements which may be reached in future.

It quotes Article 10 of the Human Rights Act which states that "everyone has the right to freedom of expression".

If the States agree to adopt the proposal, victims of child abuse in cases where the abuser had been found guilty would be free to write books about their experiences and take part in public debates.

Senator Syvret has been an outspoken critic of the island's authorities, claiming a widespread "culture of concealment".

On Monday, the 43-year-old was arrested by Jersey police in connection with allegations of breaching data protection laws.

He was later released pending further inquiries.

In 2007 he was dismissed from his post as Minister for Health and Social Services after claiming abuse cases were being covered up.

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