From pilot country to model country
In 2015, thirteen countries joined the PROMISE vision to promote child-friendly, multi-disciplinary and interagency services supporting child victims and witnesses of violence. The efforts to consolidate support for Barnahus or comparable models in these countries has been brewing for some time – often years.
They started off as pilot countries, yet in the last 18 months they quickly become model countries*:
Even as these countries come online with their one-stop-shop services, there is still much work to be done: new services might not yet be fully integrated into the social welfare and judicial systems in their countries; formal cooperation and information sharing agreements may still be needed; children may still need to go to court to give testimony.
Through the exchange meetings of the PROMISE Project, the pilot countries not only were supported in making such big leaps towards implementation, but they also gave important input to the tools the project is developing. These tools aim to be useful reference documents for new MD/IA services. However, existing services in Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden will likely reference these tools as they aim to stay ahead of the curve.
The stakeholders of similar support gathering processes in, for instance, Greece, Luxembourg, Moldova, Portugal, Spain, and Turkey are closely watching this progress.
All countries are welcome to join the Barnahus Movement. We endeavor to share our experiences, outcomes and reflections with you.
Below is a space for the pilot countries to share updates and publications. It is updated when new submissions are received.
Video of the process (with English subtitles)
Best practices 2016
Center Dardedze” has launched new pilot project “Children’s House” in February 2017 with a goal to develop a system of collaboration – the so-called children’s house or Barnahus model where child victims of sexual violence are interviewed at one place. The model puts the rights and interests of the child at its centre and provides integrated and multidisciplinary support that focuses specifically on the importance of one-time interviewing of child victim for better reporting, investigation and judicial involvement in cases of sexual violence against children.
First performed activities of pilot project including shaping the methodology or written mapping documentation of existing practice and responsibilities of each involved institution, providing platform for cooperation between the institutions and adjusting “Centre Dardedze” premises have led to important phase of pilot project – performing interviews of child victims in accordance with standards of children’s house model.
To mark the beginning of a new approach to investigating cases of sexual violence against children and highlight the importance of cooperation between the 12 different organizations involved in the process, press conference was organized with following high-level speakers: Jānis Reirs – Minister of Welfare, Raivis Kronbergs – State Secretary of Ministry of Justice, Ineta Pilāne – Deputy Ombudsman and Ints Ķuzis – Head of State Police, who once again confirmed their support to child-friendly interviewing model.
In few days information about the pilot project has been published in more than 20 media and news sites, for example:
– interview on the morning news: http://ltv.lsm.lv/lv/raksts/04.07.2017-intervija-ar-centra-dardedze-juristi-pilotprojekta-berna-majas-v.id101313/
– story in the evening news: http://ltv.lsm.lv/lv/raksts/04.07.2017-izmainas-bernu-nopratinasana.id101373/ andhttp://skaties.lv/zinas/latvija/seksuala-vardarbiba-ir-izplatitakais-nozieguma-veids-pret-berniem-visbiezak-to-pastrada-upurim-tuvs-cilveks/
Update from Latvia Fall 2017:
On 3 July 2017 the Barnahus (in Latvian – Bērna māja; pronounced like bäärna maaja) in Riga has started operating in a pilot (test) mode. Barnahus has not been included in the law because firstly it is necessary to have a decent trial period which could enable to understand the best way it can work. The methodology is still being improved. At the end of November 2017 a review of the results of the first 5 month of operation will be made available for wider public. Icelandic experts have been invited to contribute in the reviewing process and to further enhance to knowledge and awareness of the involved professionals. It is planned that altogether in 2017 20 children will be interviewed in the Barnahus. It is not yet possible to speak about any trends because quite a short time period has passes since the beginning of the operation of Barnahus in July.
Latvian Barnahus provides child friendly forensic interviews for children who are victims of sexual abuse and exploitation. Most of the children come from Riga and the surrounding municipalities. Barnahus is on the premises of NGO “Centrs Dardedze” which is also contractor for development of the Latvian Barnahus model. Until September 8 children had been interviewed. The forensic interviews are ordered by the police investigator, the child is interviewed by specially trained psychologists in a separate room while the investigator and accompanying persons are observing the interview in another room. Age range of the children that have already been interviewed: 5-16 years. Even though Barnahus has started operating quite recently the national expert council supervising Barnahus establishment project have identified a number of further steps that have to be taken to better the model (opening hours, training of professionals, include explorative interviews, improve sound and video recording abilities in the interviewing room etc.).
UK – England
UK – Scotland
A conference 12th October 2016 highlighted the difficulties child witnesses face in getting the right support in the criminal justice system. There were presentations from the Barnahus staff from Oslo, Norway, the Justice Cabinet Secretary, Lord Carloway, Lord President. Participants also heard about the use of intermediaries in England.