Now is the time to be bold in our ambition for Scotland’s children
The Scottish Child Protection system is experiencing a period of significant change and improvement and Police Scotland remains committed to working in collaborations across the public and voluntary sectors to support this transformation.
The publication of revised National Child Protection Guidance, the continued commitment to incorporate the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into Scots law the Age of Criminal Responsibility legislation, The Promise and the implementation of the Scottish Child Interview Model all cement children’s rights and welfare at the heart of our system. However, alongside clear ambitions to improve our ability to protect children and place them at the heart of systems thinking the risks in an increasingly digital world also continue to change rapidly.
I firmly believe Barnahus, or to adopt the Scottish term Bairns Hoose, represents a fantastic opportunity to achieve so much of these shared ambitions for children, young people and their families. At Police Scotland we are committed to working together with others to overcome any challenges in integrating Bairn's Hoose into Scottish child protection structures and the justice system.
Police Scotland together with the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service and others have already taken many steps along the journey towards delivering Barnahus in Scotland. A number of projects across the country such as Seymour House in Dundee, The Meadows in Larbert and the Equally Safe Multi-Agency Centre at St Katherine’s in Edinburgh are important developments which provide learning to support the establishment and roll out of Barnahus across the country.
Ensuring Uniform Access
As a single national body with statutory responsibilities for child protection Police Scotland strives to ensure every child in Scotland has access to the same quality service, support and recovery no matter their age, development, cultural needs or where they reside. I know we all share this focus and it will be a key priority to ensure uniformity of access to Barnahus.
As one of the lead agencies in the development and roll out of the Scottish Child Interview Model, the challenge to address equity of service for the remote and island communities of Scotland has seen those communities form an implementation group with Police Scotland and partners to explore the unique issues faced by them and how we can resolve these collaboratively. I anticipate that the findings from this group will be crucial to informing decisions about how Barnahus would work for children and families living in these areas of Scotland.
The welfare of children is always a paramount consideration for Police Scotland. Whilst we recognise the challenges to come, we have fully pledged our commitment to UNCRC and believe now is the time to be bold in our ambition for Scotland’s children. I look forward to working with everyone who shares this commitment to make it happen through Barnahus.
Find out more about Scotland's first Bairn's Hoose.