Barnahus: An inspirational practice
Mr. Gudbrandsson is the founder of the Icelandic Barnahus, which has become an inspiration for up to twenty countries in Europe and beyond. Barnahus puts the child´s story at the center, to ensure that the child victim is heard. It is a child-friendly and multiagency response to child abuse with the aim of avoiding re-traumatization of the child and ensuring appropriate therapeutic intervention. All the relevant agencies, the child protection, medical services as well as the justice system work under one roof to ensure the best interest of the child. The child victim can give his/her court testimony in Barnahus under the conditions of the rules of a fair trial. Thus Barnahus embodies a balance between the two human rights principles: the “due process” and the “best interest of the child”. Barnahus is now to be found in approximately 60 cities in 13 countries in Europe and more are under way.
Mr. Gudbrandsson has presented on Barnahus and child abuse in 38 countries in Europe and beyond and received almost 200 delegations from over 30 states for study visits in Barnahus Iceland during the 20 years it has been in operation. His professional vocation has been to provide support to governments and civil society organization towards establishing Barnahus over the past two decades, providing them with concrete expertise, practical knowledge and protocols as well as transmitting his commitment and enthusiasm for ensuring that children are kept at the centre of all services.
With Anne Longefield Children´s Commissioner for England and Mr. and Ms. S. Gill, HM Ambassador during a visit to Barnahus Iceland, 2016
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