In 2015, thirteen countries joined the PROMISE vision to promote child-friendly, multi-disciplinary and interagency services supporting child victims and witnesses of violence. The efforts to consolidate support for Barnahus or comparable models in these countries has been brewing for some time – often years.
They started off as pilot countries, yet in the last 18 months they quickly become model countries*:
- 3 PROMISE pilot countries have launched a Barnahus or comparable model: Lithuania in June 2016, Hungary in November 2016, Estonia in January 2017. These locations have staff, have started seeing children, and have further methodological developments and training activities underway.
- 5 PROMISE pilot countries have preliminary launch dates: Cyprus, Ireland, Latvia, Malta, and Poland. These countries generally have broad stakeholder support, funding and premises secured. Some staff have been hired. Further recruitment and trainings are planned or underway.
- 5 PROMISE pilot countries are in various stages of gathering national and/or local support and resources: Bulgaria, England, Germany, Romania, and Scotland. These countries may have child friendly interview rooms in various settings but do not yet have a Barnahus or comparable model in service.
Even as these countries come online with their one-stop-shop services, there is still much work to be done: new services might not yet be fully integrated into the social welfare and judicial systems in their countries; formal cooperation and information sharing agreements may still be needed; children may still need to go to court to give testimony.
Through the exchange meetings of PROMISE, countries are supported in making such big leaps towards implementation, and also give important input to the PROMISE tools and resources. These tools aim to be useful reference documents for new MD/IA services. And existing services in Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden will likely reference these tools as they aim to stay ahead of the curve.
The stakeholders of similar support gathering processes in, for instance, Greece, Luxembourg, Moldova, Portugal, Spain, and Turkey are closely watching this progress.
All countries are welcome to join the Barnahus Movement. We endeavor to share our experiences, outcomes and reflections with you.
*According to the analysis of the Council of the Baltic Sea States Secretariat Children at Risk Unit as of May 2017.