The Children´s House (Barnahúsið)

The Children’s House is a child-friendly and interdisciplinary centre whereby different professionals work under one roof in the investigation of suspected violence or child sexual abuse cases.

The parties that form The Children’s House are the Child Welfare Services, the police and the health authorities. The Children’s House provides children and their families with the security of professional treatment in cases of abuse and ensures that consideration for the child is at the centre.

The Children’s House works for the whole country, and it is the Child Welfare Services that decide whether a case should be processed in The Children’s House. Children and families only come in The Children’s House on the request of the Child Welfare Services. The Children’s House is covered by the Children's Act, see section 10a.

The basic concept behind The Children’s House is to prevent subjecting the child to repeated interviews by many agencies in different locations. Research has shown that when this happens it can be very traumatic for the child and may result in “re-victimization”, or the amplification harmful consequences that can be more server than the abuse itself.

In The Children’s House the child is interviewed in a special room by a specially trained police officer. The interview is observed in another room by a social worker from the Child Welfare Services, the police, the prosecution, defence attorneys and the child´s advocate. The interview is videotaped and can be used in court at the main proceedings. This arrangement makes it possible in most cases to conduct only one interview with the child.

The Children’s House also provides psychological crisis assistance for child victims of violence and sexual abuse and their families. A diagnosis is made of the child for therapeutic purposes. Then an individual treatment plan is created.


The purpose of The Children’s House

The main purpose of The Children’s House is to ensure good and coordinated work with children and their relatives in cases of sexual or violent abuse against children. In addition, The Children’s House must ensure that cases of abuse receive the same high-quality treatment throughout the country.

The Children's House is used in cases of child abuse when there is a need for interdisciplinary cooperation between Child Welfare Services, the police and/or the health authorities. The work at The Children's House revolves around helping Child Welfare Services to investigate the circumstances of the child in question. This is to find out to what extent the child needs specialized help.

The purpose of gathering the specialized, interdisciplinary and coordinated treatment in The Children’s House is that the child has better circumstances in which to be thoroughly examined and to recover. In addition, the child does not have to repeat his explanation several times. In the house, the child meets trained staff who have the competence to talk to children about abuse.


The tasks of The Children’s House

The Children’s House deals with cases of violent and sexual abuse against children and coordinates the interdisciplinary cooperation between the relevant parties. The Children’s House is arranged and structured in such a way that consideration for the child is put first.

The tasks of the Children’s House are:

•    to provide the child and relatives with crisis assistance;

•    to assess the child´s need for a medical examination;
•    to interrogate children up to and including 14 years of age with video recording;
•    to interrogate children who are 15-17 years old;
•    to assess the child's future need for special support and treatment; and
•    to advise social worker and help to determine and analyze the need for support.


This is all done as part of the pediatric investigation in accordance with Section 45 of the Children's Act.