Transforming child interviewing: insights from the webinar on the Barnahus Model

This webinar provides crucial insights into the transformative approaches to forensic child interviewing and the role of the Barnahus Network in child protection, showcasing its growing impact across Europe.

The session featured Shawnna von Blixen-Finecke, adviser at the Council of the Baltic Sea States and Coordinator of the Barnahus Network, who detailed the Barnahus model’s complexities and its successful implementation in various regions.

The Barnahus model, which translates from Icelandic as “Children’s House,” is a holistic approach to handling child abuse cases and child witness interviewing.

Central to this model is the concept of bringing all services related to child protection under one roof, ensuring that children do not have to navigate multiple stations from police to healthcare to social services.


  • Barnahus model overview: The Barnahus model, a child-centric approach originating in Iceland, brings all child protection services under one roof to minimize trauma and streamline the justice process for child abuse cases.
  • Webinar highlights: Davidhorn’s webinar, featuring Shawnna von Blixen-Finecke, emphasised the model’s success and adaptability across Europe, highlighting its international endorsements and the importance of maintaining its integrity across diverse legal systems.
  • Davidhorn’s contribution: Davidhorn supports the Barnahus model with advanced recording technologies, enhancing the interview environment to protect children’s psychological well-being and aligning with global child protection standards.

This setup not only streamlines the process but also creates a more comforting and secure environment for the child. Within the Barnahus, children undergo forensic interviews, medical examinations, therapeutic services, and legal consultations in a single, child-friendly setting. This model minimises the trauma of recounting abusive experiences by reducing the number of times children must tell their stories. 

The Barnahus Model: a beacon for child-friendly justice 

Originating in Iceland and now adopted by numerous European countries, the Barnahus model is pioneering a child-centric approach to investigative interviewing. This method significantly reduces the trauma experienced by children during the justice process by ensuring that all services—from legal to psychological—are delivered under one roof and tailored to the child’s needs. The model’s adaptability to different national contexts while preserving its core principles of child protection and dignity was one of the main points of the webinar. 

International endorsements and expansions 

The webinar highlighted the model’s international recognition, with endorsements from global entities such as the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, reflecting its effectiveness and growing relevance. The adaptability of the Barnahus model allows for its principles to be integrated into diverse legal systems, promoting stronger child protection frameworks worldwide. Despite its successes, challenges in implementing the Barnahus model remain, particularly in maintaining its integrity across various legal and cultural landscapes.

Download our eBook on how to plan a child or vulnerable witness interview room.

Davidhorn’s role in supporting child-centric justice 

Davidhorn supports the global adoption of the Barnahus standards through its advanced recording technologies. By ensuring that interviews are conducted in environments that respect and protect the child’s psychological state, Davidhorn is at the forefront of technological advancements that align with the Barnahus model’s goals. 

Conclusion: a collective move towards better child protection 

The collaboration between Davidhorn and international bodies like the Barnahus Network exemplifies a shared commitment to transforming child protective services. As the Barnahus model continues to influence child protection standards globally, Davidhorn’s technological support plays a crucial role in facilitating these changes, ensuring that children’s rights and well-being are prioritised in justice processes worldwide. 

Written by: Marta Hopfer-Gilles

(Chat GPT was used while creating this blog)