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Barnahus model child friendly justice system, Iceland

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Presentation by Heiða Björg Pálmadóttir made at the OECD Global Policy Roundtable on Equal Access to Justice, 28 March 2019.

For more information see www.oecd.org/gov/equal-access-to-justice-oecd-expert-roundtable-portugal-2019.htm

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Barnahus model child friendly justice system, Iceland

  1. 1. HÖFÐABORG · BORGARTÚNI 21 · 105 REYKJAVÍK · www.bvs.is BARNAVERNDARSTOFA The Barnahus model - A way to have a child-friendly justice system 2019 Global OECD Policy Roundtable on equal Access to Justice Lisbon, March 28th 2019 Heiða Björg Pálmadóttir, Director General The Government Agency for Child Protection, Iceland
  2. 2. HÖFÐABORG · BORGARTÚNI 21 · 105 REYKJAVÍK · www.bvs.is BARNAVERNDARSTOFA Barnahus, evolving approach  Barnahus has assumed a key role in the Justice as well as Child Protection System of the Nordic Countries and beyond  Allowing for difficulties of definitions, Barnahus can be found in 60 locations in Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the Baltic states, England, Cyprus, Germany and Hungary. Soon to be set up in several countries more  Recommended by international and professional bodies inter alia:  Council of Europe: the Lanzarote Committee and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, Guidelines of Child-friendly justice (2010) etc.  ISPCAN, the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect: The multidisciplinary award 2006
  3. 3. HÖFÐABORG · BORGARTÚNI 21 · 105 REYKJAVÍK · www.bvs.is BARNAVERNDARSTOFAThe Child´s narrative: Uniqueness of the Intervention Addressing child abuse and exploitation is not only a judicial issue but requires multiagency intervention The child victim´s disclosure is the key for:  Ensuring the safety of the child – the child protection agencies  Providing assistance to the child victim with the aim of physical and psyhcohological recovery – the health services  Uncovering the crime in terms of criminal investigation, prosecution and sentencing – the judicial system  Preventing the perpetrator from reoffending
  4. 4. HÖFÐABORG · BORGARTÚNI 21 · 105 REYKJAVÍK · www.bvs.is BARNAVERNDARSTOFA Barnahus Balancing “due process” and “best interests of the child” • Attempt to integrate the “best interests” principle and the principle of a “fair trial” • Eliciting and recording the child‘s testimony under the conditions that ensure “due process” • Avoidance of harmful effect on the child victim by repetitive interviews or having to testify again, being cross-examined or having to wait to testify in a courthouse • Ensuring evidence based trauma focused therapy and appropriate support for non-offending parents
  5. 5. HÖFÐABORG · BORGARTÚNI 21 · 105 REYKJAVÍK · www.bvs.is BARNAVERNDARSTOFA Multiagency collaboration  The Gov. Agency for Child Protection  The State Police  The State Prosecution  The Police Dep. in Reykjavik  The University Hospital – Dep. of Paediatric and Dep. of child Psychiatry  Association of the Directors of Local Social Services  The Child Protection Services in Reykjavik
  6. 6. HÖFÐABORG · BORGARTÚNI 21 · 105 REYKJAVÍK · www.bvs.is BARNAVERNDARSTOFA Barnahus Medical Exams and Evaluation Joint Invest. Interviews: court statements/ CPS interviews Victim Therapy Family Counselling/ Support Consultation and advice to local CPS Education, training and research
  7. 7. HÖFÐABORG · BORGARTÚNI 21 · 105 REYKJAVÍK · www.bvs.is BARNAVERNDARSTOFA Duration from the time a request is made for court testimony until it takes place 0-1 week 1-2 weeks 2-3 weeks 3-4 weeks % 49.5 30.1 17.2 3.2 0 10 20 30 40 50 60
  8. 8. HÖFÐABORG · BORGARTÚNI 21 · 105 REYKJAVÍK · www.bvs.is BARNAVERNDARSTOFA Number of investigations, indictments and convictions of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation before (1995-97) and after Barnahus Investigations Indictments Convictions 1995-1997 146 51 49 2006-2008 315 155 108 2011-2014 410 209 165 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 450
  9. 9. HÖFÐABORG · BORGARTÚNI 21 · 105 REYKJAVÍK · www.bvs.is BARNAVERNDARSTOFA Child friendly environment Environment • House in a residential area • No marking outside • The address is hidden
  10. 10. HÖFÐABORG · BORGARTÚNI 21 · 105 REYKJAVÍK · www.bvs.is BARNAVERNDARSTOFAEnvironment • Minimize anxiety • Age appropriate waiting rooms
  11. 11. HÖFÐABORG · BORGARTÚNI 21 · 105 REYKJAVÍK · www.bvs.is BARNAVERNDARSTOFAJoint forensic interviews • Judge steers the proceedings • The CPS representative • Police • Prosecutor • Defence attorney • Everyone can ask questions through the interviewer
  12. 12. HÖFÐABORG · BORGARTÚNI 21 · 105 REYKJAVÍK · www.bvs.is BARNAVERNDARSTOFA The interview room • Specially designed • Child friendly setting • Neutral/Safe • Camera • No distractions • Age and developmentally appropriate
  13. 13. HÖFÐABORG · BORGARTÚNI 21 · 105 REYKJAVÍK · www.bvs.is BARNAVERNDARSTOFAThe goals of the interview • Maximize information from he child • Minimize the impact of the interview on the child • Minimize contamination effects on the child´s memory • Maintain integrity
  14. 14. HÖFÐABORG · BORGARTÚNI 21 · 105 REYKJAVÍK · www.bvs.is BARNAVERNDARSTOFA The medical room
  15. 15. HÖFÐABORG · BORGARTÚNI 21 · 105 REYKJAVÍK · www.bvs.is BARNAVERNDARSTOFA The importance of inter-agency co-opereation • Important that the procedures are as child-friendly as possible – Decreases the odds of trauma or re-traumatization – Increases the odds of the child disclosing possible trafficking or trauma • Makes sure that the best interests of children are in the forefront of each case • Makes sure that an experts in the matters of children handle their case and are in contact with the child • In best accordance to the CRC and other HR conventions, guidelines and directives

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