Transforming Care, Justice and Recovery for Children


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 ScotlandThe University of Edinburgh and Children England, we are piloting Scotland's first Bairns Hoose.

What is a Bairns Hoose?

Scotland’s first Bairns Hoose will be a child-friendly, safe and welcoming place for children to go to once a crime has been reported.

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 will:

  • 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 are designing the Bairns Hoose to feel like a family home - it will be warm, welcoming and familiar. It will provide 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.

Read more detail about what a Bairns Hoose is.

Why is a Bairns Hoose needed in Scotland?

Currently, once a crime has been reported, the child involved will need to speak a multitude of different people – the police, social workers, doctors, nurses and others who are trying to help.

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.

Take a look at this graphic which shows who a child may currently need to speak to and why.

"When I had to talk to the police about my dad, I was taken away to a police station away from home and had to talk to two people in a small room with a camera. I wasn't allowed my mum or anyone I trusted. I felt really scared."
Girl, aged 12
By developing the Bairns Hoose we are changing this.

The Bairns Hoose will mean 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.
Read our Sharing Stories for Change reportRead our Sharing Stories for Change report


Where are we now?

We are currently working hard with our partners and contractors to create Scotland’s first Bairns Hoose, which will open at the end of this year. Once open, the Bairns Hoose will provide support up to 200 children from across the West of Scotland.


Making a dream come true

Scotland's first Bairns Hoose is being 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.

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