School of Social and Political Science

SPS team helps create new safe space for child victims and witnesses of crime in Scotland

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A revolutionary new house designed to protect, support and get justice for child victims and witnesses of crime is to be opened in the west of Scotland, with work underway to identify a suitable location, thanks to £1.5 million raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.


Professor John Devaney and Dr Mary Mitchell of the Social Work department in the School of Social and Political Science, are involved in the evaluation of this new project and were part of the team who developed the bid for funding, along with Children 1st, Victim Support Scotland and Children England.

Professor John Devaney said: “With one in four children in the UK reporting an experience of neglect or abuse, it is timely that the UK seeks to build on the learning from various countries internationally about the need and benefits of the Barnahus/child advocacy centre model encapsulated in Children 1st’s House for Healing.

“Dr Mary Mitchell from the School, along with myself, will be leading on the evaluation of this exciting new development as we continue to develop the evidence base on how to help children recover from maltreatment.”

The Child’s House for Healing will be a child-friendly, safe and welcoming place for children to go to, as an alternative to courts, social work offices and police stations. 

The house is inspired by the internationally-renowned Barnahus model, first developed in Iceland.  Designed to feel like a family home, the Child’s House will be a space where children can give evidence, receive medical care, take part in decisions about their protection and get support to recover from the trauma they have experienced.

Mary Glasgow, Chief Executive of Children 1st, said:
“We are delighted and incredibly excited to receive this funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, which will help end the nightmares of thousands of children who are victims of abuse and crime.” Humza Yousaf, Scottish Government, Cabinet Secretary for Justice said:
“It is at times like now that we see the true value of organisations working together to support those who need it most, at their time of need.  We continue to work hard to provide trauma informed support to children and young people who are the victims of serious and traumatic crime but there is always more which can be done.  

Find out more

Read more about the project:

Edinburgh Impact – New centre will offer safety for children exposed to crime

BBB News – New safe space for child victims of crime in Scotland