#Chances4Children: UK’s first centre to protect child witnesses of crime to open in Scotland

Fiona Simpson
Friday, February 26, 2021

The UK’s first centre of excellence to help protect children who become victims or witnesses of crime is set to open in Scotland.

The project will support the recovery of children and families. Picture: Children 1st
The project will support the recovery of children and families. Picture: Children 1st

The Child’s House for Healing, will be a learning hub where professionals and researchers will develop and share the best approaches to help children get justice and to recover from traumatic experiences.

The project, set to launch in West Renfrewshire, will support up to 200 children and young people from across the west of Scotland, when it opens at the end of 2021.

The pilot project led by the charity Children 1st alongside the University of Edinburgh and Victim Support Scotland, has been funded by the People’s Postcode Lottery.

Mary Glasgow, chief executive of Children 1st, said: “We are delighted to be working with East Renfrewshire Council and the Health and Social Care Partnership as we take forward our plans to develop this forward-thinking approach to supporting children and young people who become victims or witnesses.  

“Children and families are shocked by how traumatic it can be to give evidence in court and how little support there is to help them recover from their experiences. The Child’s House for Healing, which is being developed thanks to £1.5m raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery as part of the organisation’s Dream Fund, will inspire change across Scotland and the rest of the UK.”

Based on the Barnahus, first developed in Iceland, the Child’s House for Healing approach is internationally recognised as the best way to protect children’s rights to justice and recovery.

Following work with East Renfrewshire Council, the vacant 18th century Capelrig House has been agreed as the site for the pilot project. 

Laura Chow, head of charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “It’s fantastic to meet this milestone in this incredible project to transform the experiences of every child and young person who becomes a victim of or witnesses crime. 

“The idea of your child becoming a victim or witness to a crime is every parent’s worst nightmare and it’s great to see the development of this essential project thanks to the support of players of People’s Postcode Lottery. It’s vital that if the worst does happen, children get the very best care and support to give evidence and recover from their experiences.”

The Child’s House for Healing centre of excellence is being supported by an international research advisory group including specialists in child health, child protection, social work and children’s rights from Sweden, Norway, Canada, South Africa and the UK.

 

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