What is the project?

The European Union/Council of Europe Joint Project “Barnahus in Finland – Ensuring child-friendly justice through the effective operation of the Barnahus-units in Finland” aims to ensure that all children in Finland involved in child abuse investigations benefit from a high-quality assessment in child-friendly settings, appropriate psychosocial support and child protective services.

In 2019, Finland initiated its own nationwide Barnahus project to be implemented around the core of five university hospital expert units specialising in forensic psychology/psychiatry (Barnahus-units). The EU-CoE Joint Project Barnahus in Finland sets to support the Finnish authorities in addressing the needs and challenges identified since the launch of their project so as to reduce significant existing delays in the pre-trial and judicial processes involving children.

The project is co-funded by the European Union via the Technical Support Instrument, and implemented by the Council of Europe, in cooperation with the European Commission, over 30 months (1 September 2021- 29 February 2024) in Finland.

 DG REFORM project website

 Project news

 What is Barnahus?

Barnahus (Children’s House) is a child-friendly response model for the coordination of criminal and child welfare investigations of child sexual abuse cases.

It brings under one roof all relevant professionals (the judge, the prosecutor, the police, social workers and medical professionals such as psychologists, forensic doctors) to obtain from the child victim of sexual abuse the necessary information for investigation and court proceedings, and to help the child by preventing re-traumatisation and providing support, including medical and therapeutic assistance. Originally developed by the National Children’s Advocacy Centre in the United States, the model was introduced and adapted to the European context by Iceland in 1998.

The model was recognised in 2015 as a promising practice by the Committee of the Parties to the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (Lanzarote Committee), is already replicated in Sweden and Norway and is in the process of being adapted in more than a dozen of other European countries.

 What do we aim to achieve?

 What are the main project deliverables?

Analysis and reports

Inception report (English)

Legal review analysis of Finnish legislation concerning child sexual exploitation and abuse cases (English and Finnish)

Analysis of current practices and identification of training gaps and needs of target groups (English)

Survey on perceptions of child sexual abuse (English and Finnish

Government Bill Memorandum on legal amendments to the Barnahus law (Finnish

Study to measure average duration of criminal proceedings involving children (Finnish)


Basic training in crimes against children (Finnish)

ToT on forensic interviewing (registration needed) (Finnish



Communication Strategy, Action Plan and Communication tools (Finnish)

Communication Strategy and Action Plan (English)

Communication Tools (English)

Awareness raising materials

Video to raise awareness about Barnahus services in Finland (English, Finnish and Swedish)

Protection of children against sexual exploitation and abuse: Child-friendly, multidisciplinary and interagency response inspired by the Barnahus model (Finnish and Swedish)

Child friendly justice - Leaflet (Finnish and Swedish)

Learn about your rights in the digital environment - Leaflet (Finnsh and Swedish)

Tell someone you trust - Brochure (Finnish and Swedish)

Tell someone you trust - Video (Finnish and Swedish)

The Lake video - short version (Finnish and Swedish)

The Lake video - long version (Finnish and Swedish)

Guidelines for professionals who work in direct contact with children in migration who might be victims or witnesses of child sexual violence (FinnishThe guidelines train these professionals on how to help a child to fill-in the Safety Book

Safety book for children in migration who might be victims or witnesses of child sexual violence (Finnish)

Leaflet to promote the Safety book (Finnish)

Awareness raising materials - Kiko 

Kiko and the Hand - Book (Finnish and Swedish)

Kiko and the Hand - Guidelines for parents (Finnish and Swedish)

Kiko and the Hand - Video (Finnish and Swedish)

Kiko and the Hand Trainig of Trainers: Protective Teachers, Protected Children (Finnish

Kiko and the Manymes - Book (Finnish and Swedish)

Kiko and the Manymes - Guidelines for parents (Finnish and Swedish)

Kiko and the Manymes - Video (Finnish and Swedish)

  Video: What happens when I visit a Barnahus unit for an interview?

Other versions: 

English: short

Finnish: short / long

Swedish: short / long

 Who do we work with?

 Who will benefit from the project?

The project targets Finnish national and local authorities, as well as professionals in contact with children and dealing with cases of child sexual abuse. They will benefit directly from the project through training and other supporting and capacity building measures provided. The project targets notably the judiciary and legal professionals, professionals carrying out forensic interviews and health professionals, in particular staff of the Barnahus-units.

The final beneficiaries of the project are children at risk of or victims and/or witnesses of any type violence, including physical and sexual abuse. Children will eventually benefit from increased access to justice, more effective state response and more child-centred and child-friendly practices during the processing and management of child sexual and physical abuse cases.

Ultimately, the Finnish society as a whole will benefit from the project with the wider public reached through awareness raising and promotional activities. The project will contribute towards a more aware society that is capable of identifying, preventing and responding to child abuse.

Project documents

 Video on the Icelandic Barnahus model

Watch long and short version of the video

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