This page is the archive of the newsletters sent during PROMISE 1, as we migrate from one service to another.

September 27, 2017

Webinar reminder – Barnahus progress and advocacy

The PROMISE webinar is quickly approaching! We hope you will join us this Friday 29 September 2017 at 11:00-12:00 Stockholm/Brussels time.

The webinar will, among other things, highlight advocacy tools for promoting the Barnahus model and briefly introduce the outreach and national level technical support planned for the PROMISE II project. We look forward to your questions and other input during the webinar.

Space is limited, so register today to make sure you and your colleagues can take part.

Hope to see you Friday,
The PROMISE team

September 12, 2017

Announcing the PROMISE Webinar – Barnahus

We are the PROMISE Project – a passionate group of change-makers from around Europe who are establishing integrated services for child victims and witnesses of violence. The Barnahus model offers child-friendly multi-disciplinary and interagency services supporting child victims. It provides access to justice, avoids re-victimization and ensures professional standards towards recovery. Also known as the Children’s House Model, this 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.

Announcing the PROMISE Webinar

On 29 September 2017 at 11:00-12:00, the PROMISE Webinar will:

  • Highlight recent activities and discuss advocacy tools for promoting the Barnahus;
  • Mark the transition from the PROMISE I project into PROMISE II;
  • Present the activities and objectives for PROMISE II;
  • Answer questions and respond to comments from participants.

Register here! 

To get the most out of this call, we recommend you read the PROMISE Advocacy Guidance and consider reading the Enabling Child-sensitive Justice report.

For participants who come from current or future MD/IA services, read through the summary of the Barnahus Quality Standards and complete the Tracking Tool. Note what standards you are currently focusing on achieving and what your biggest challenges are.

The webinar is especially targeted to those working to establish MD/IA services for child victims of violence, but expect a little something for everyone.

In late June we got the good news that the European Commission has accepted the PROMISE II project proposal.

PROMISE II focuses specifically on national level implementation. With many formal partners, the project also has gathered commitment from experts and support from national agencies from around Europe.

Over the next two years we will develop and execute:

  • Active use of the Barnahus Quality Standards and PROMISE Tracking Tool, developed during PROMISE I;
  • National roundtables and dialogue, roadmaps, frameworks, and agreements;
  • Tailor-made training for Barnahus staff;
  • European-level network engagement through webinars and chats;
  • Judicial sector workshops;
  • A methodology for gathering the perspectives of children on the operation and impact of the services;
  • Expanded visibility and outreach.
Join the upcoming webinar to find out more.

Launched: The European Barnahus Movement

If you missed the final conference of the PROMISE project in Brussels in June, the recording of the live stream is still online and all of the presentations and photos are available at the project website.
The conference featured support from high-level speakers, deep dives into topical issues, and the launch of the PROMISE I tools and reports:
  • Barnahus Quality Standards – the first attempt in Europe to define the principles of the interventions and services referred to as the “Barnahus” model. Provides 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.
  • Enabling Child-sensitive Justice – the success story of the Barnahus model and its expansion in Europe – identifies the factors and dynamics that have enabled the establishment of the Barnahus model.
  • Compendium of Law and Guidance – a comprehensive overview of the legal framework and authoritative guidance concerning the rights of child victims and witnesses across the EU, Council of Europe and United Nations.
  • Tracking Tool – a self-evaluation tool for MD/IA services to track progress against the Barnahus Quality Standards.
  • Advocacy Guidance – aims to help you develop national and regional advocacy strategies to promote progress on Barnahus.

Thanks to all of you, we now have 4 times as many subscribers as when this newsletter launched one year ago. Please keep forwarding this to your colleagues.

Thank you for your interest and support during the past two years of PROMISE. We are looking forward to expanding our communication efforts with you during phase 2.

June 09, 2017

Live stream of the conference Launching the European Barnahus Movement

While more than 90 participants from 30 countries will meet in Brussels on 14 June for the conference Launching the European Barnahus Movement, we know many more wish they could be there.

The good news is that we have the next best thing: a live stream of the conference. The conference will also be recorded so you can watch it later at your convenience.

You’ll find the agenda, participants list, and all of the publications (NB: publications subject to small changes until 24 June) that will be discussed at the conference at the PROMISE website. If you would like to interact with the conference, you can Tweet us @daphnepromise or use the hashtag #EUBarnahus. We’ll do our best to put your comments and questions forward to the speakers.

Please be so kind as to forward this message around to your colleagues.

May 23, 2017

From pilot country to model country

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*:

  • 3 PROMISE pilot countries have launched a Barnahus or comparable model: Lithuania in June 2016, Hungary in November 2016, Estonia in January 2017. These locations have staff, have started seeing children, and have further methodological developments and training activities underway.
  • 5 PROMISE pilot countries have preliminary launch dates: Cyprus (Sep 2017), Ireland (Jan 2018), Latvia (June 2017), Malta (July 2017), and Poland (Dec 2017). These countries generally have broad stakeholder support, funding and premises secured. Some staff have been hired. Further recruitment and trainings are planned or underway.
  • 5 PROMISE pilot countries are in various stages of gathering national and/or local support and resources: Bulgaria, England**, Germany**, Romania, and Scotland**. These countries may have child friendly interview rooms in various settings but do not yet have a Barnahus or comparable model in service. ** Are likely to announce launch dates soon.
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.

*According to the analysis of the Council of the Baltic Sea States Secretariat Children at Risk Unit as of May 2017. Submissions supporting amendments to this list in future communications are welcome.

Launching the European Barnahus Movement

The PROMISE Project’s final conference will take place in Brussels on 14 June 2017. Participation is by invitation only. Please register your interest if you would like to be invited and, if necessary, can fund your own travel and accommodation. Deadline for registration is 26 May 2017.
The event is kindly hosted by the Committee of the Regions.
December 22, 2016

Putting the child in the centre – PROMISE Update #3

Hurray for holidays! Wishing you
peace, love and success for 2017.

(If you can’t see the animation above, view the newsletter in your browser)

Spotlight on: putting the child in the centre

Barnahus, child advocacy centres, and child friendly centres have many commonalities as they all work towards preventing re-victimization of child victims of violence by putting the child’s experiences and story in the centre. They complete their work in coordination with multiple sectors under one roof and in a child-friendly manner, limiting the need for multiple interviews. Their work helps to ensure that child victims and witnesses of violence can tell a complete story and it helps to streamline care and support services.

However, there are also differences as the Nordic model of the Barnahus is an integral part of the public child welfare and judicial systems. During the forensic interview, the child’s story is recorded and submitted as valid evidence for court proceedings. The child does not have to appear in court and due process is upheld. Child Advocacy Centres and child-friendly centres, on the other hand, provide multi-disciplinary services to support the child and may coordinate with the police and prosecution, but they are usually not directly linked with the court system and the child generally has to appear in court.

Both models have clear advantages – the Nordic Model is accepted as part of the system and is acknowledged as a professional unit ensuring that children do not have to appear in court. The child-friendly centres, which are not so strictly integrated into the system, have many other advantages and freedoms and the existing centres show remarkable work in the areas of advocacy, developing preventive initiatives and in support services. Some are also offering treatment for offenders and in particular young offenders.

The challenge for the Barnahus community is to strive to achieve increasingly higher standards and quality to ensure that the services provided are in the best interest of children and that they not in any way further traumatise children seeking justice and care. A certification system has not yet been developed for the Children’s Houses – but it could be an idea to discuss the relevance of having an A-level definition. However, we do have the new quality standards and tools developed by the PROMISE project as inspiration, which can help us raise our ambitions higher and higher. Reviews, evaluations and feedback from children, young people and caregivers is also necessary.

PROMISE 2017-2019

The PROMISE vision is for all children who are victims of violence globally to have rapid access to justice and care.

From 2017 until 2019 we will upgrade the media and communication efforts to serve an inclusive Barnahus Movement. Interested countries in the EU, wider Europe and globally will be informed and take part in the Movement. All outputs, outcomes and reflections from PROMISE I and the foreseen PROMISE II will be shared with interested countries and advocates.

Pilot country progress

  • PROMISE II: A project application has been submitted to the European Commission which will focus on national level implementation in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Poland, Romania and the UK. If funded, activities will include national roundtables, drawing up of frameworks and agreements, training for Barnahus staff, workshops for judges, national and European dialogue, and development of a methodology for gathering the perspectives of children.
  • Germany: is planning to open a Children’s House “light” in Leipzig – as the first of 3 (Hamburg, Leipzig and Frankfurt). The City of Leipzig, the State of Saxony and the Government of Germany are foreseen be involved long term in ensuring the sustainability. The World Childhood Foundation will fund select equipment, staff, and training.
  • Practical preparations continue in a number of pilot countries. We hope to see multiple countries launch MD/IA service provision in early 2017.

Media corner

Upcoming events

  • 13-14 June 2017 – PROMISE European conference in Brussels, Belgium.
  • 1-4 October 2017 – 15th ISPCAN European Regional Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect. The Conference Theme is: Multi-disciplinary interagency approaches to the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect. THE CALL FOR ABSTRACTS IS OPEN! Due 31 January 2017. Guidelines for submitting an abstract.

Please forward this newsletter and encourage your colleagues to subscribe!

November 16, 2016

The Barnahus Movement – PROMISE Updates – Second edition

When a trend becomes a movement

We have seen substantial progress in Europe since the launch of the PROMISE Project in fall 2015. Lithuania opened a Barnahus in June and Hungary formally opened this week. Croatia, Finland, the Netherlands and Poland are working to expand their existing child-friendly services with inspiration from the Barnahus model. Cyprus, England, Estonia, Germany, Latvia and Malta are soon to launch new models and operations. Significant processes is being in many other countries in gathering support for establishing the Barnahus or comparable models.

PROMISE is supporting the Barnahus movement by developing a package of materials, such as: an overview of international standards concerning children’s access to justice; quality standards and a system for internal control and monitoring; documentation of success factors in establishing and developing Barnahus; advocacy material. These tools are currently being tested by the PROMISE partners and 11 pilot countries. The participants in the PROMISE project have benefited, and will continue to benefit, from study visits to Barnahus and comparable models in Croatia, Iceland, Sweden and the Netherlands and to several professional exchange meetings.

Linköping to give inspiration to the Barnahus Movement 

On 28-29 November 2016, 60+ professionals from around Europe will meet in Linköping, Sweden to gather inspiration to launch the Barnahus or similar model of multi-disciplinary inter-agency services for child victims of violence their own countries.

At the meeting, HM Queen Silvia will return to Linköping, 11 years after inaugurating the first Barnahus in Sweden, to give her support to the European Barnahus movement. The establishment of the Barnahus in Linköping marked the beginning of a success story of responding with increased attention to the needs of child victims and witnesses of violence. The Queen’s advocacy played a key role in the establishment of Barnahus in Sweden. The World Childhood Foundation, which The Queen founded, helped to establish Barnahus Linköping and continues to support the establishment of Barnahus around the world.

For more information about the meeting, please visit the PROMISE website.

Cutting ribbons in Hungary

Warmest congratulations to Hungary, a PROMISE Pilot Country, for its formal opening of the Barnahus in Szombathely. Among those pictured cutting the ribbon is Bragi Guðbrandsson, General Director of the Icelandic Agency for Child protection and also one of our esteemed experts on the PROMISE Project. There are several initiatives in Hungary that are working to establish child friendly centres. Maria Dr. Mária Lazáryné Illés, one of our pilot country representatives, was influential in formally opening this particular location.

Call for contributions 

Want to highlight the progress in your country on the PROMISE website? We’ve got a space for that. Send us a few bullet points with the most important points and we’ll help you make your tireless work more visible. Have there been any mentions in the press? Any political statements? What about notable meetings to gather support or even draw up agreements? Are you setting up a house or training staff members? Let us know.

Recent publications 

Please send us links to any publications you think our network should know about. 

Upcoming events

September 09, 2016

PROMISE updates – first edition

We are the PROMISE Project, a passionate group of change-makers from around Europe who are establishing integrated services for child victims of violence.

First edition 
This newsletter promises to briefly and regularly:

  • update you on the establishment of multidisciplinary interagency services for child victims of violence throughout Europe,
  • inform you about new publications and events,
  • encourage ongoing discussion within this growing network of experts.

Please forward this newsletter and encourage your colleagues to subscribe!

Spotlight on the Barnahus Model
The Barnahus model offers child-friendly multi-disciplinary and interagency services supporting child victims of violence. It provides access to justice, avoids re-victimization and ensures professional standards towards recovery. Also known as the Children’s House Model, this 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.

Steps towards national commitment

  • Latvia: A National Council of Experts from ministries, agencies and other organizations has expressed support to establish a Barnahus and are ready to participate in a new project on the introduction of the model in Latvia. The Council on the Prevention of Crime, chaired by Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis, announced on 22 June 2016 its support of the model as a solution to improve the practices related to working with a child victim in the framework of the criminal procedure. The Council requested that the Ministries of Justice, Interior, Welfare, and Health plus the General Prosecutor assess the possibilities of piloting the model in the Riga region for one year. The Ministry of Welfare, the Ministry of Justice and foundation “Centrs “Dardedze”” are seeking the necessary funding.
  • Estonia: Estonia will launch a pilot of the Barnahus model in 2017 in northern  Estonia – Tallinn and Harju county. Practical preparation is underway to set up multi-agency collaboration among different stakeholders, find the staff, ensure the necessary premise, etc. The possibility to pilot the model in southern Estonia is being explored with group of state and regional partners.
  • Malta: The Family Minister mentioned the Children’s House model in a recent speech. New legislation on child protection was debated in Parliament this summer. A task force is discussing the Children’s House model and the Ministry for the Family and Social Solidarity seems to be interested in the model. The Ministry is looking for a suitable building and one option is being explored more thoroughly.

In the news

  • The Stockholm edition of Metro recently featured an interview with Anna Petersson from Barnahus Linköping. The front page of the Metro says, “This is how society should react when a child is mistreated.” The article’s headline says, “The professionals come to the children, not the opposite.”
  • This spring the BBC produced a 3 minute clipabout the Icelandic Barnahus and the momentum in the UK to implement the model. The BBC reports the Children’s Commissioner for England would like to pilot the model, and Home Office funded pilot schemes should start next year.
  • On 22 August 2016 Latvian Ombudsman Juris Jansons, in cooperation with foundation “Centrs “Dardedze””, organized a press conference on the situation of child victims in relation to their interrogation in Latvia. The Children’s House model was one of the solution mentioned in the press conference.

Many of you have connections to journalists or press offices. Please help us to build our media strategy by introducing us to your contacts.

Before your next meeting or conference … 
We would be thrilled if you would say something about the establishment of multidisciplinary interagency services for child victims of violence throughout Europe – either in conversations with your contacts or in a presentation that you will give. We recommend reading through and printing a few copies of the PROMISE Vision Paper. You’ll find other publications on the project website, along with the presentations from the pilot country exchanges in Croatia and Iceland. Consider bringing some copies of those which are most relevant to your upcoming meeting. Let us know how it went!

Publications of interest
Evidence and Procedure and Review Report and Evidence and Procedure Review – Next Steps, from the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service. Recommends taking chief evidence from children in digitally recorded video and cross examination on request, which means children would not have to attend court. Recommends the Norwegian Barnehus as a best practice. Following these reports, the Scottish Government has gathered a broad stakeholder group to develop proposals for legislation.

Bridging the gaps: a global review of intersections of violence against women and violence against children, published by Global Health Action. Concludes that consolidating efforts to address shared risk factors may help prevent both forms of violence.

ISPCAN in Calgary, Canada 28-31 Aug
33rd International Symposium on Child Abuse in Huntsville, Alabama 27-30 March 2017

Twitter Tips
The PROMISE Twitter account follows select organizations and people who are working towards MD/IA child friendly services for children. Go to to connect with these accounts. Follow our account and we’ll follow you back, thus adding you to this list.

Reply to this email to submit comments or suggestions. We warmly welcome your ideas! 

We are the PROMISE Project – a passionate group of change-makers from around Europe who are establishing integrated services for child victims and witnesses of violence. The Barnahus model offers child-friendly multi-disciplinary and interagency services supporting child victims. It provides access to justice, avoids re-victimization and ensures professional standards towards recovery. Also known as the Children’s House Model, this 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.
The PROMISE Project is managed by the CBSS Secretariat (Children at Risk Unit). Partners include Child Circle, 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. We are working towards children having access to child-friendly services based upon quality standards, ongoing development of the services through the sharing of good practices and the mobilizing of national/local agencies, governmental and non-governmental, for collaboration to implement the Barnahus model.

The PROMISE project is co-funded by the European Union through the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (2014-2020). The project partnership is responsible for the content of this website. 
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