Bairns’ Hoose, based on an Icelandic model ‘Barnahus’, will bring together services in a ‘four rooms’ approach with child protection, health, justice and recovery services all made available in one setting.  Bairns’ Hoose aims to ensure that every child victim or witness has consistent and holistic support, access to specialist services and receives ongoing therapeutic care from services coordinated under one roof. 

The overall vision of a Bairns’ Hoose (Barnahus) in Scotland is that:

All children in Scotland who have been victims or witnesses to abuse or violence, as well as children under the age of criminal responsibility whose behaviour has caused significant harm or abuse, will have access to trauma informed recovery, support and justice.

The key values through which this vision will be achieved are that:

  • we are child centered, trauma informed and respect the rights and wellbeing of the child at all times
  • we provide consistent and holistic support, which enables children to have their voices heard, access specialist services and recover from their experiences
  • we aim to prevent children being re-traumatised and to improve the experience of the criminal justice process for children and families, and
  • we demonstrate connectedness and national leadership to uphold children’s rights to protection, support, participation and recovery.

In 2019, the Scottish Government commissioned Healthcare Improvement Scotland and the Care Inspectorate to jointly develop standards which will provide a blueprint for a Scottish Barnahus (Bairns’ Hoose).  Also in 2019, a Standards Development Group with representatives from across social work, police, health, justice and children’s voluntary organisations began developing the standards. In March 2020 Healthcare Improvement Scotland and the Care Inspectorate paused the development of the standards in order to reduce undue strain across the system and prioritise resources to support the national response to Covid-19. A refreshed Standards Development Group recommenced work on the Bairns’ Hoose standards in January 2022. 

The final standards are now available to download. We have also developed a version of the standards for children and young people. The standards will help to support a consistent national implementation of the Bairns’ Hoose model.

Update on Barnahus July 2023

For further information regarding the project, see other reports published to date: