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St Helena

Volume 604: debated on Tuesday 12 January 2016

9. What assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the findings of the Wass report on child abuse in St Helena. (902971)

The UK Government take child safeguarding in the overseas territories extremely seriously. We and the St Helena Government accept all the recommendations in the report, and a senior UK official has been appointed to be based in St Helena to oversee and implement all the recommendations.

The Wass report notes, at paragraph 1.48, that

“it should be recognised that Claire Gannon was not properly briefed for the task that confronted her when she arrived on St Helena in February 2013.”

Was it the responsibility of the Foreign Office, the Department for International Development, the governor or other staff in St Helena to provide the briefing?

Prior to all governors going out to overseas territories, the Foreign Office organises extensive briefings in all policy areas, and I can assure the House that, in addition to the normal briefings, we now provide specialist briefings on child safeguarding. This subject was central to the Joint Ministerial Council only last month; in fact, it was the main issue we discussed.