When children experience the trauma of being a victim or witness of crime, they have a right to get all the care, support and justice they need to recover and thrive.
Thanks to an award from players of the People’s Postcode Lottery through the Postcode Dream Trust, Children 1st is leading a partnership to make these rights a reality for every child. With partners Victim Support Scotland, The University of Edinburgh and Children England, we are piloting Scotland's first Bairns Hoose.
What is a Bairns Hoose?
Scotland’s Bairns Hoose is based on an internationally renowned model first developed in Iceland, called Barnahus. The Barnahus model brings together justice, health, social work and recovery support, to best meet the needs of child victims and witnesses.
At the Bairns Hoose, each young person can:
- Give evidence.
- Receive medical care.
- Take part in decisions about their protection.
- Get support to recover from the trauma they have experienced.
- Have a space where their wider family can also get support to understand what has happened to their child and how best to help them through it all.
We have designed the Bairns Hoose to feel like a family home - it is warm, welcoming and familiar. It provides a single location alternative to courts, social work offices and police stations, allowing each young person to feel safe and supported, and able to recover and thrive.
See Inside the Children 1st Bairns Hoose
Why is a Bairns Hoose needed in Scotland?
This can mean they have to relive what has happened to them up to 14 times to different people in different places. Sometimes they may not be able to have a family member or loved one with them, making the experience even more difficult.
In fact, many young people have told us that what happens after a crime has been reported can be more traumatic for them than the crime itself.
By developing the Bairns Hoose we are changing this.
The Bairns Hoose means that a child victim or witness of crime will only need to tell their story two or three times at most and one of these times will be recorded to be used in the justice process. This will remove long waits for a case to go to court, which can make it even more difficult for a young person to recover and thrive from what has happened to them.
Sharing Stories for Change
Listening to young people is at the heart of everything we do, and a vital part of the development of a Bairns Hoose for Scotland. Our recent report ‘Sharing Stories for Change’ brings together the experiences and views of children and young people who have been victims of crime and tells their thoughts and opinions of how they felt after the crime was reported, including as they went through the justice process. “Just because we’re children, doesn’t mean we don’t have strong feelings and don’t understand things.”
Girl, aged 8.
Making a dream come true
Scotland's first Bairns Hoose has been made possible thanks to £1.5m funding, awarded by the Postcode Dream Trust. We are incredibly grateful to players of People's Postcode Lottery for their support, and for making this dream come true for child victims and witnesses.