On 14 June 2017, professionals from around Europe will meet at the Committee of the Regions to gather discuss an innovative way to support child victims of violence in their own countries.
The innovation is called the Barnahus. In the Nordics, this multi-disciplinary and interagency service model forms an integral part of the welfare and judicial system. It provides support to child victims and witnesses to violence, giving them access to justice, avoiding re-victimisation and ensuring recovery. The Barnahus model was founded in Iceland in 1998. A number of countries followed suit by launching their own Barnahus or comparable models.
Barnahus puts the child’s story at the centre. In a child-friendly environment, the many sectors involved in a civil or criminal investigation work in coordination under one roof. This helps the child to be able to tell a complete story. When the story is recorded and submitted as evidence to a court proceeding, the child does not need to face the accused in court. As part of the process, victims have direct access to care and support services at the Barnahus.
High level speakers will give their support to the European Barnahus Movement, including Ms Věra Jourová, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, and Ms Marta Santos Pais, Special Representative to the UN Secretary-General on Violence against Children. Mr Bragi Guðbrandsson, Lead Expert in the PROMISE project, will present the Icelandic experience and how it has inspired the European Barnahus Movement. Panels of experts will discuss multi-disciplinary and interagency response to violence against children in Europe and how the Barnahus model embodies children’s rights. The Barnahus Quality Standards document will be launched.
The Brussels conference is the final conference of the PROMISE Project, co-funded by the European Union through the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (2014-2020). The co-organizers include Barnahus Linköping, Child Circle in Brussels, Belgium, and Linköping University. The meeting is additionally supported by the Barnahus in Stockholm and Iceland, the Verwey-Jonker Institute in Utrecht, the Netherlands, and the Kenter Jeugdhulp in Haarlem, the Netherlands.
The conference is kindly hosted by the European Committee of the Regions.
The most updated agenda, eventual presentations, and more information about the project can be found here