Spain takes STEPS in establishing a national training programme for Barnahus
Jan 26, 2021

A summary of a promising practice for national efforts to establish Barnahus.

Introducing the STEPS project

The project “Step by Step standing up a Barnahus in Catalonia: A simulation-based training program to avoid secondary victimization in the assessment and treatment of child sexual abuse” (STEPS), seeks to create and implement a training program for the development of specific knowledge, skills and personal abilities needed by professionals working in the first Barnahus in Spain.​ STEPS offers a tailored training program, specially designed for the needs of future Barnahus professionals providing them with evidence-based tools and interventions and ensuring that the Quality Standards are met at all times.

STEPS offers a training program that…

  • Is aimed at professionals that work directly with children and adolescents victims of child sexual abuse;
  • Promotes collaboration and multidisciplinary teamwork environment;
  • Is based on the extensive evidence of other Barnahus experiences in Europe;
  • Ensures training quality and knowledge transferability through.

The project is financed by the European Commission Justice, Rights and Values Program of DG Justice and runs from June 2020 to June 2022.

Training structure

The trainings aim at reaching over 250 professionals that will be working at the future Barnahus expected to be created in the next two years in the five regions of Catalonia and it includes. Training will be catered to a wide variety of professionals ranging from forensic and clinical psychologists, paediatricians, social workers, as well as police and judiciary sector professionals.

Due to the current context with Covid-19, training will be conducted mainly on online format but will still include both theoretical and practical components:

Additionally, the STEPS training program includes mentorship to Exchange amongst Barnahus professionals in Catalonia and other experienced Barnahus in Denmark.

The training is structured in two blocs. The first block includes three courses with basic knowledge and contents that will be mandatory for all training participants. Subsequently, the second block offers specialised training for specific professional profiles. As outlined in the table below, the three specific trainings offered include Forensic Interview, TF-CBT and Medical examination.

STEPS training has a core focus on evaluation, ensuring that the knowledge and tools provided are later transferred to the workplace and that contribute towards ensuring the Barnahus Quality Standards.


Save the Children is the leading organisation promoting the Barnahus model in Spain. It has followed similar steps undertaken by other members of the Save the Children network, such as Save the Children Sweden and Save the Children in Romania, that both led the accompanied and set up of the model in their respective countries. Save the Children Spain is a PROMISE Barnahus Network member.

Focusing initially in Catalonia, since 2018 Save the Children has been promoting the Barnahus model in this region through research, conferences and legal lobbying. As a result, in July 2020, the first Barnahus was set up in Catalonia and expressions of interest have been made by other regions such as the Basque Country, Cantabria and Valencia to follow the same path.

Prior to the STEPS project, Save the Children had already been working with the University of Barcelona conducting research related to the Barnahus model. In 2018, the “Under one roof” report was published, which examined the fitting and possible implementation of the Barnahus model in Catalonia (2018). Similarly, Save the Children has also previously collaborated with the Hospital Sant Joan de Déu, in projects related to child sexual abuse, considering they operate a Functional Unit of Child Abuse, which includes the view of social work, paediatrics and psychology, to offer diagnosis and treatment to suspected cases of child sexual abuse.

Additionally, the STEPS project engages external: expertise of the Research Group on Training Efficiency from the Autonomous University of Barcelona that, through a consultancy, will be accompanying the partners in the training design and evaluation of the project; an extensive network of national and International trainers leading the trainings; collaboration with relevant partners in Europe such as the PROMISE network and other Barnahus in Europe for Exchange and lesson learning.


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