Bringing Bairns Hoose to Scotland

Across the Scottish Government, justice, police, social work, health, child rights and voluntary sector there is a clear commitment to bring about the change that is required to transform the Bairns Hoose vision to reality.


Scotland has committed to incorporate the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into Scots law and the development of Scotland’s first Bairns Hoose is a fundamental step in realising this.

Our shared ambition is that this first Bairns Hoose will be a catalyst for change that transforms systems of care and justice for children and young people across Scotland and influences similar developments across the rest of Great Britain.

As part of our work to develop the Bairns Hoose, we have brought together field leaders in a group called Delivering the Vision. This group ensures rapid progress and expertise to overcome any potential challenges that may arise. This group includes Bragi Guðbrandsson, who is a member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and the founder of the first Icelandic Barnahus. Read more about Bragi Guðbrandsson's involvement in Scotland's Bairns' House.

The Scottish Government has committed to ensuring that all children who have been victims or witnesses of abuse or violence will have access to a Bairns Hoose by 2025.

Sharing the Learning

Scotland's first Bairns Hoose is rooted in a test, learn, develop approach.

Our partner, the University of Edinburgh, is leading a three-year evaluation, with support from an international research advisory group. This will help inform the delivery of the Scottish Government’s commitment and support the roll out of Bairns Hoose across Scotland and the rest of Great Britain.

As well as sharing the work of the international research advisory group, along with Bairns Hoose partners, we are developing a series of resources to support professionals interested in Bairns’ Hoose developments.

Children 1st is also an affiliated member of the European Barnahus Movement, PROMISE, which shares learning and promote best practice.

Briefings and reports

We are producing a range of briefings and reports whilst working to bring the Bairns Hoose to Scotland. You can read more about these below, and we will add to this section as more reports are published.

Seven Minute Briefings

We are producing a series of seven-minute briefing about different topics relevant to the development of the Bairns Hoose.

We will add these here as they are published.

Building a culture of participation in Barnahus: Implementing Children’s Right to Participate in Decision-Making

Written by Dr Louise Hill, Professor Laura Lundy and Dr Mary Mitchell.


This paper explores ways of embedding  child participation in Barnahus across Europe, drawing on the Lundy model of child participation.

The Lundy model encourages decision-makers to address the qualities of rights-based participation using four concepts: space, voice, audience and influence. They apply to any issue and any decision affecting individual children or children as a group.

The Lundy model also provides explicit recognition of the interaction of article 12 with all other rights in the UNCRC, including the right to be protected from harm in article 19 of the UNCRC – another foundation principle of the Barnahus model.

Read the report

Responding to Child Victims and Witnesses of Trauma and Abuse: addressing the support needs of children and families through the Barnahus model.

University of Edinburgh Research Report (August 2021)  


This report was commissioned by Healthcare Improvement Scotland. The report:

  • Examines the scope of violence against children, including during the COVID 19 pandemic.
  • Discusses the impact of experiencing and witnessing forms of violence as a child as well as the support needs of children and families during recovery from forms of violence.
  • Presents child rights and international standards relevant for recovery-based models.
  • Discusses core standards for the Barnahus recovery model, situated within the research and policy evidence base.
  • Presents recommendations for developing standards for a Barnahus recovery model in Scotland.

Read the report: Barnahus (Bairns' Hoose) standards (

Putting the Child at the Centre: Barnahus (Children’s House) - a one door approach to supporting children who have been sexually abused in Northern Ireland

This report was commissioned by the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People (NICCY).


This report provides an analysis of current arrangements in cases of sexual offences against children. It also examines the opportunities and challenges of bringing the Barnahus model to Northern Ireland, including the forensic interview and the role of this in providing cross-examination testimony for trial proceedings.

Read the report


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