UK’s first sanctuary house to open in Scotland

A Scandinavian-style sanctuary house for children who have been victims or witnesses of crime is set to open in Scotland next year, marking the first of its kind to open in the UK.

The Child’s House for Healing will be based on the Barnahus model, first developed in Iceland, and will provide a safe place for young people as an alternative to courts, social work offices and police stations.

The project has secured £1.5 million in funding from the Peoples Postcode Lottery, with areas in the west of Scotland identified as potential sites for the project.

Children will be able to give evidence, get medical care and support and be involved in decisions about their protection in the building, which will be designed to feel like a family home.

Project partners Children 1st, Victim Support Scotland, Children England and Edinburgh University have come together to create the house, The Scotsman reports.

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.

“Players have made our dream – to create Britain’s first Child’s House for Healing – come true. By creating and testing a new approach, the centre will transform our systems of justice, health, care and protection so that every child victim and witness is kept safe from further harm, gets justice and is supported to heal.”

Justice secretary Humza Yousaf, added: “The Scottish Government supports the concept of a Barnahus for Scotland and is committed to bringing forward Scottish Barnahus standards to support a trauma-informed, coordinated and effective response for child victims and witnesses of violence and abuse by placing the child or young person’s rights, well-being and best interests at the centre.”

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