The PROMISE Vision
The vision of the PROMISE project is a Europe where the human rights of children to protection from violence, support and to be heard are fulfilled. To this end, child victims and witnesses of violence in Europe are protected by child-friendly interventions and rapid access to justice and care, based on the following main principles:
- Respect for the participatory rights of the child by ensuring that she/he is heard and receives adequate information and support to exercise these rights;
- 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;
- Comprehensive and accessible services that meet the individual and complex needs of the child and her/his non-offending family or caregivers;
- Ensuring high professional standards, training and sufficient resources for staff working with child witnesses and victims of violence.
The Barnahus model refers to multi-disciplinary and interagency interventions organized in a child-friendly setting fulfilling the following criteria:
- The forensic interview is carried out according to an evidence-based protocol;
- The evidentiary validity of the child´s statement respects due process, whilst avoiding a need for the child to repeat her/his statement during court proceedings if an indictment is made;
- A medical evaluation is carried out for forensic investigative purposes and to ensure the child’s physical well-being and recovery;
- Psychological support is available, including short and long-term therapeutic services addressing the trauma of the child and non-offending family members and caretakers;
- An assessment of protection needs is carried out and followed up concerning the child victim and siblings in the family.
PROMISE supports the involvement of national and local agencies, governmental and non-governmental, in establishing Barnahus and child-friendly institutions. It inspires progress in all countries by sharing good practices and high-quality standards for a European approach such as:
Preventing, investigating and responding to violence against children with multi-disciplinary and interagency cooperation among professionals and agencies in social and health care and criminal law before, during and after the judicial proceedings;
Identifying good practices in a) coordination, joint work and mutual adjustment between agencies; b) cooperation of agencies influencing each other; and c) collaboration in terms of shared services among agencies in a spirit of collective policy-making;
Raising awareness nationally on the rights of the child to a non-violent childhood.
To achieve this Vision, PROMISE promotes and supports the establishment of the Barnahus model, or similar models, in all countries in Europe and inspires efforts at the global level for increased multi-disciplinary and interagency collaboration to ensure that child victims and witnesses of violence benefit from a child-friendly, professional and effective response in a safe environment. Both the European and the global network of professionals are supported in spreading the PROMISE vision through webinars, communications and follow-up.
Goals, ambitions and challenges
PROMISE supports national actors in applying the Barnahus Quality Standards and other international and regional guidance material for child-friendly, multi-disciplinary and interagency cooperation.
Questions and challenges continue to arise in the establishment and operation of Barnahus. PROMISE provides an opportunity to consider some of these issues through roundtables and workshops at the national level. Additionally, Barnahus experts, project partners and interested government officials and practitioners have the opportunity throughout to submit reflections and suggestions on how to identify strengths and challenges in the current systems: