The PROMISE Barnahus Network is supporting Europe to adopt the Barnahus model as a standard practice for providing rapid access to justice and care to child victims and witnesses of violence. It is a member-led network that works to harmonise and consolidate good Barnahus practice across Europe+, and does so in support of and in consultation with a Barnahus across Europe.
By bringing stakeholders together to share experiences and knowledge, and jointly develop and commit to the Barnahus Quality Standards, PROMISE is accelerating progress across Europe in providing multidisciplinary services to child victims of violence. A harmonisation of Barnahus practice across Europe serves to ensure quality Barnahus services, boost the legitimacy of the approach, and ensure that all children in Europe have the same access to their rights to protection from violence, support, and to be heard.
The Network promotes children’s rights to be heard and to receive assistance in child protection and criminal justice investigations and proceedings. It supports national and local agencies, both governmental and non-governmental, to establish Barnahus or similar models that progressively achieve international legal obligations, professional guidance and the Barnahus quality standards.
The PROMISE Vision is a Europe where all children enjoy their right to be protected from violence. In Promise vision, States implement legislative, administrative, health, social and educational measures to prevent and address violence against children. Effective, comprehensive and sustainable procedures and services are in place to ensure identification, reporting, referral, investigation and treatment. Child victims and witnesses of violence receive support and assistance through timely access to evidence-based and multidisciplinary interventions in a safe environment. Child-friendly criminal and pre-trial investigations help produce admissible evidence of high evidential value. The child does not have to appear in Court. The procedural safeguards of both the alleged victim and perpetrator are protected.
The CBSS proudly hosts the PROMISE Barnahus Network. The CBSS was selected as the lead actor for the first phase of PROMISE for several reasons. First, the topics of Barnahus and multidisciplinarity have been featured in the work of the CBSS since it started working on child protection issues in the 1990s. Moreover, because the model originated in Iceland, and then spread to several CBSS member states, a large share of the expertise on the model already existed in the region.
PROMISE started fulfilling its vision through its first phase (2015-2017), which brought stakeholders together to share experiences and knowledge, and to jointly develop and commit to the Barnahus Quality Standards. The second phase (2017-2019) promoted national level progress towards meeting the Standards. The third phase (2020-2023) provided essential training and tools, establishing the Network as a competence center in Europe. In the fourth phase, PROMISE is developing new protocols, guidance, and tools for specific target groups and competencies within Barnahus for which gaps have been identified. Funding for the above work has come from many sources, including the European Commission, Swedish Institute, and EEA Norway Grants.
The PROMISE Barnahus Network was established to formalise the continuation of this work in the long term. This European approach supports the continuity of capacity-building, advocacy, and provision of Barnahus and similar services at the national level. Common frameworks in Europe enable a vibrant and constructive exchange on establishing and operating multidisciplinary interventions under one roof. The CBSS was selected by the members to host the Network as a natural continuation of its leadership in the formative projects that gave rise to the vibrant international collaboration on Barnahus.
Member activities include:
- Training – in-house, self-training, European competence centre
- Practical tools and guidance
- Data collection, evaluation and research to monitor the impact
- Child participation
- Exchange and mutual support
- Peer support through mentorship and training of trainers
- Advocacy and awareness-raising at the national and European level
- Exchange and support internationally
The Network’s activities support members to:
- Improve practice by having access to training, mentorship and practical tools, including University certified training in forensic interviews and therapy
- Gain recognition, and in the longer-term accreditation, for excellence in practice by having access to training, support, mentoring and tools to benchmark progress to practising in line with the Barnahus standards
- Share expertise and learning and help shape the European Barnahus Movement by having access to a broad network which actively engages in exchange and mutual learning
- Extend outreach and visibility by being part of a broad professional network, visibility in European social media and opportunities to meet other professionals from across Europe
- Explore funding opportunities by offering access to expertise and reliant partnerships
As of November 2022, the PROMISE Barnahus Network has 26 member countries represented by 40 individual member organisations/persons. In total, we engage with 43 national contexts, from where PROMISE is benefiting from the existing expertise and/or where PROMISE is influencing national progress on Barnahus.
- Olivia Lind Haldorsson, President, Representing the Council of the Baltic Sea States SecretariatOlivia Lind Haldorsson
- Andrej Del Fabro, Member, Representing the Ministry of Justice, Republic of Slovenia, Anna Petersson
- Anna Petersson, Member, Representing Barnahus Linköping, Sweden
- Aoife O’Malley, Member, Representing Tusla, Ireland
- Dr. Briony Arrowsmith, Member, Representing The Havens, England
- Liisa Järvilehto, Member, Representing the Institute of Health and Welfare, Finland
- Maria Keller-Hamela, Member, Representing the Empowering Children Foundation, Poland
- Rebecca O'Donnell, Legal adviser, Representing Child Circle, Belgium
- Shawnna von Blixen, Coordinator, Phone: +46 76 136 72 28, Email: [email protected].
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