The PROMISE Vision
Promise envisions 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.
Promise vision embraces the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, relevant Council of Europe and European Union legal frameworks, professional guidance and the Barnahus Quality Standards** including, but not limited to:
- Children’s rights to participation, including to be heard and receive adequate information throughout all interventions and proceedings, from initial disclosure is fulfilled without causing (re)traumatisation (UNCRC article 12, 17. Barnahus Quality Standards 1.2, 5.4, 6, 7.5, 8.3);
- Multi-disciplinary and interagency collaboration during investigations, procedures, diagnostic and needs assessments and service delivery, with the aim of avoiding (re)-traumatisation and securing outcomes that are in the best interests of the child (Barnahus Quality Standards 1.1, 2, 5, 6.4, 7.4, 9);
- Comprehensive and accessible services that meet the individual and complex needs of the child and her/his non-offending family or caregivers, provided without undue delay and in the best interests of the child (CRC article 19, 39, Barnahus Quality Standards 1.1, 1.2, 2,4, 5.4, 7, 8);
- High professional standards, training and adequate resources for staff working with child witnesses and victims of violence (CRC article 19, Barnahus Quality Standards 6.2, 7.3, 8.2, 9);
- Access to integrated services for all children who are victims and/or witness of all forms of violence, without any form of discrimination. Special efforts are made to reach all children, including the most vulnerable and marginalised (CRC article 2, Barnahus Quality Standard 3.1, 3.2).
Promise mission is to promote children’s rights to be heard and to receive assistance in child protection and criminal justice investigations and proceedings.
To this end, Promise 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.
Promise promotes that Barnahus are formally embedded in national systems, for example the judicial system, law enforcement, health or child protection systems. Each Barnahus should be an integral part of – and contribute to – national justice and child protection systems.
Promise also inspires progress around the globe by sharing good practices and quality standards drawing on the European Barnahus model.
Barnahus is an evolving model that can be adapted to different legal, socio-economic and cultural contexts. Promise overall goal is that all Barnahus and similar services progressively develop excellence in practice according to international law and to the Barnahus Quality Standards.
Barnahus is an evolving model that can be adapted to different legal, socio-economic and cultural contexts. Promise overall goal is that all Barnahus and similar services progressively develop excellence in practice according to international law and to the Barnahus Quality Standards:
All Barnahus implement multi-disciplinary and interagency interventions (Barnahus Quality Standard 5), organized under one roof in a child-friendly setting (Barnahus Quality Standard 4), placing the best interests of the child (UNCRC art 3, Barnahus Quality Standard 1.1) at the centre.
Each child is offered a balanced multidisciplinary, professional and child friendly intervention, managed through joint case management and review.
All Barnahus include “four rooms” embedded in a multidisciplinary and interagency environment.
The “four rooms”
Professionals from the different disciplines collaborate to provide a carefully balanced intervention that responds to the needs of each child:
- Child Protection: The Barnahus contributes to the assessment of protection needs and supports follow up concerning the child victim and siblings in the family.
- Criminal justice investigation and proceedings: The criminal investigation in Barnahus, including the forensic interview, respects the procedural safeguards of both the child and the defendant. A child-friendly forensic interview is carried out according to an evidence-based protocol by a specialised forensic interviewer to secure the best possible evidence and to protect the child from (re)traumatization. The interview is recorded and represents admissible evidence in Court.
- Medical examination and treatment: A child friendly medical evaluation is carried out by specialised and highly competent staff both for forensic investigative purposes and to ensure the child’s physical well-being and recovery by the appropriate remedy.
- Mental health examination and treatment: All children are offered a mental health assessment and appropriate support by specialised and highly competent staff, including crisis support, short and long-term therapeutic services addressing the trauma of the child and non-offending family members and caretakers.
* Violence is here defined as per the UNCRC article 19.
** For a complete overview of relevant legal provisions, guidance and the Barnahus quality standards, please see:
Key legal provisions and guidance are found in:
- The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocol 2
- The Council of Europe Convention on Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (2010)
- The Council of Europe E Guidelines on child friendly justice (2010)
- The Council of Europe Recommendation for child friendly social services (2011)
- The EU Directive on combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography (2011)
- The EU Directive on minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime (2012)