Back Council of Europe celebrates International Children’s Day by launching a new video on Barnahus


1 June is International Children’s Day aimed at promoting and celebrating children’s rights, their well-being, and addressing challenges they face.

On this occasion, the Council of Europe is launching a new video about Barnahus (“Children’s House” in Icelandic) – the leading European child-friendly and multidisciplinary response model for child victims or witnesses of violence, including sexual violence, that puts the best interests of the child at the heart of investigative procedures.

The video walks us through the Icelandic Barnahus with child actors  explaining its functioning and the way it helps child victims and witnesses of violence to get the protection they need and are entitled to.

One of the key principles of the Barnahus model is preventing secondary victimisation of the child by co-ordinating parallel criminal and child welfare investigations and bringing all relevant services under one roof in a child-friendly and safe environment.

The Barnahus model was first launched in Europe in Iceland in 1998. In 2015, the Council of Europe’s Committee of the parties to the Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (Lanzarote Convention) recognised the model as a promising practice, and since then, the Council of Europe has been actively supporting its member states to adapt and use it. The success of the Barnahus model lies in its holistic and child-centered approach. It recognises that children are not just victims; they are resilient individuals who are entitled to justice, support, and the opportunity to heal.

This video was produced as part of an upcoming Mapping study on the implementation and development of the Barnahus model in Council of Europe member states with the generous contribution of the Government of Iceland.

Special thanks go to both child actors, Margrèt Blöndahl Magnúsdóttir and Snorri Rafn Frímannsson, and the professionals working at Barnahus (Iceland) for their participation in the video.

* With the Council of Europe and EU support, the first Children’s House facility was opened in May 2022 in Slovenia. Similar joint projects in Finland, Ireland and Spain are ongoing, and a project in Croatia is in the pipeline, alongside the ongoing Council of Europe - UNICEF project in Montenegro.

 Video on Barnahus - long and short versions

 Barnahus leaflet


headline Strasbourg, France 1 June 2023
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