Transforming Care, Justice and Recovery for Children

Bringing Barnahus to Scotland through the Child’s House for Healing

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 People’s Postcode Lottery through the Postcode Dream Fund, 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, the Child’s House for Healing.

House for Healing infographic

Introducing the Barnahus

First developed in Iceland, Barnahus is an internationally renowned model of bringing together justice, health, social work and recovery support, to best meet the needs of child victims and witnesses. The Scottish model of Barnahus, that is being developed is known as the Bairns' Hoose.

Scotland's first Bairns' Hoose, the Child’s House for Healing will be a child-friendly, safe and welcoming place for children to go to, as a single alternative to courts, social work offices and police stations.  Designed to feel like a family home, the Child’s House will be a space where child victims and witnesses who have experienced any form of violence 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.

Through the Bairns' Hoose agencies will work together to reduce the number of times a child needs to talk about what’s happened and ensure children get justice, reduce the trauma children experience and support children to begin to recover more quickly.

Opening in 2022, Scotland's first Bairns' Hoose, the Child’s House for Healing will support up to 200 children from across the West of Scotland when it opens at the end of this year.

Barnahus rooms

Delivering the Vision

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 through the Child's House for Healing. Scotland has committed to incorporation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into Scots law. The development of the Child's House for Healing and the roll out of Bairns' Hoose is a fundamental step in realising incorporation of the UNCRC.

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.

The Child’s House for Healing Delivering the Vision Group brings together leaders in their fields to ensure rapid progress and to overcome any potential challenges that may arise. Members include Bragi Guðbrandsson, a member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and the founder of the first Icelandic Barnahus.

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. The University of Edinburgh is leading a three year evaluation, with support from an international research advisory group, which will help inform the delivery of the Scottish Government’s commitment and support the roll out of Barnahus across Scotland and the rest of Britain.

As well as sharing the work of the international research advisory group, Child’s House for Healing partners are developing a series of resources to support professionals interested in Bairn's Hoose developments.

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

Making a Dream Come True

Postcode Lottery LogoThe Child’s House for Healing, Barnahus pilot has only been made possible thanks to £1.5m funding, awarded through the Postcode Dream Fund. Children 1st are incredibly grateful to players of People’s Postcode Lottery for their support, and for making this dream for child victims and witnesses come true.