£1.5 million awarded for House for Healing for child victims and witnesses
The People’s Postcode Lottery has awarded £1.5 million to a project collaboration by Children 1st, Victim Support Scotland, Children England and the University of Edinburgh to build a bespoke house for child victims and witnesses of crime, the Child’s House for Healing.
Children’s experiences of and reactions to a crime are often very different to adults. Inspired by the internationally-renowned Icelandic Barnahus model, the Child’s House for Healing is intended to reduce the trauma experienced by children following a crime. By putting children’s rights, wellbeing and best interests first, this project aims to provide targeted support in an appropriate environment.
Designed to look and feel like a family home, the House for Healing will be a child-friendly, safe and welcoming place for children, far removed from the austere and potentially frightening environments of courts, social work offices and police stations.
Children will be able to receive medical care, get support and take part in decisions about their protection in one place, rather than having to visit different services.
With digital technology installed at the house, children will be able to give evidence remotely or pre-record their evidence. This will help to reduce the number of times a child needs to talk about trauma they experienced in order to help speed up the recovery process.
The project has the potential to transform the justice, health, care and protection systems to better keep child victims and witnesses safe from further harm and to ensure they receive justice and are supported to heal.
Kate Wallace, Chief Executive of Victim Support Scotland, said:
“We have an opportunity to make a transformational partnership through this project by bringing together the experience, skills and networks of number of organisations to put child victims at the centre of our justice system. It is important that we all work to support restoring the lives of vulnerable children, rather than causing further trauma. This is big news for Scotland and I am looking forward to us playing our part in this significant and groundbreaking project.”