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Barnahus Quality Standards: Summary

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118 pages1 hour

Summary

The Barnahus (Children’s House) model, and similar models such as the Children’s Advocacy Centers, embrace cooperation among social services, police, prosecutors, judges, pediatrics and child/adolescent psychiatry in one place. In the Nordics, this multi-disciplinary and interagency service model forms an integral part of the welfare and judicial system. It provides support to child victims and witnesses to violence, giving them access to justice, avoiding re-victimisation and ensuring recovery.

Barnahus puts the child’s story at the centre. In a child-friendly environment, the many sectors involved in a civil or criminal investigation work in coordination under one roof. This helps the child to be able to tell a complete story. When the story is recorded and submitted as evidence to a court proceeding, the child does not need to face the accused in court. As part of the process, victims have direct access to care and support services at the Barnahus.

The key purpose of this publication is to provide a common operational and organisational framework that promotes practices which prevent retraumatisation, while securing valid testimonies for Court, and complies with children’s rights to protection, assistance and child-friendly justice.

The Barnahus Quality Standards are a collection of cross-cutting principles and activities, core functions and institutional arrangements that enable child-friendly, effective and coordinated interventions, including: 1.1 Best interests of the child; 1.2 Children’s rights to be heard and receive information; 1.3 Preventing Undue Delay; 2. Multidisciplinary and Interagency Organisation; 3. Target Group; Child-friendly environment; 5. Interagency planning and case management; 6. Forensic Interviews; 7. Medical Examination; 8. Therapeutic services; 9. Capacity building and; 10. Prevention: Information sharing and external competence building.

By practising in accordance with the standards, retraumatisation can be prevented, since it involves ensuring that the best interest of the child informs practice and decisions; that the right of the child to be heard is fulfilled without repetitive interviews; that the child is interviewed and supported by specialised and competent professionals; that interviews are carried out in a multidisciplinary environment in one child-friendly premise, offering adequate support to the child and care-givers without undue delay and; that the child is not obliged to appear in Court.

The production of this e-book was co-funded by the European Union through the PROMISE Project. PROMISE aims at promoting child-friendly multi-disciplinary and interagency services supporting child victims of violence, providing them with access to justice, avoiding re-victimization and ensuring high professional standards for recovery. PROMISE is managed by the Council of the Baltic Sea States Secretariat (Children at Risk Unit). Partners include the Child Circle, HAPI, Verwey-Jonker Institute, Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Trauma Unit and Barnahus in Iceland, Linköping and Stockholm. It also builds on the expertise of prominent specialists in law, sociology, pediatrics, psychology and psychiatry from different European countries.

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