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New book on the Nordic Barnahus model

Susanna Johansson, Senior lecturer at the School of Social Work, is one of the editors of a new book offering an interdisciplinary approach to the understanding of the Barnahus model.
Susanna Johansson presenting at a Swedish Barnahus conference
Susanna Johansson presenting the book "Collaborating Against Child Abuse"

This edited collection explores the background and implementation of the Nordic Barnahus (or 'Children's House') model – recognised as one of the most important reforms related to children who are the victims of crime in the Nordic region. The different chapters offer discussions on both its potential to affect change and the challenges facing it.

The Barnahus model was introduced as a response to a growing recognition of the need for more integrated and child-centred services for children exposed to violence and sexual abuse. In the Barnahus structure, different professions work together to ensure that victimized children receive help and treatment and that their legal rights are met. The model is found in all of the Nordic countries, and despite great similarities in child welfare systems and legal systems, the countries differ in terms of both governance and regulation of the Barnahus.

Book cover: Collaborating Against Child Abuse
The collection is organised into four broad themes: child-friendliness, support and treatment; the forensic child investigative interview; children’s rights perspectives; and interagency collaboration and professional autonomy. Each section includes in-depth chapters from different Nordic countries, outlining and analysing the practice and outcomes of the collaborative work engaged in by Barnahus from different perspectives. The introductory and concluding chapters offer a comparative lens useful for policy and practice implementation within the Nordic welfare state context and beyond, ensuring this book has global academic and practical appeal.

Various shifts and trends emerge in the book: for example towards larger Barnahus and satellite activities; broadened target groups, more investigative interviews and mandatory use of Barnahus.

“The implementation of the Barnahus model is a promising development when it comes to meeting the needs and rights of vulnerable children. But there are also several difficulties and challenges. Many effects and consequences are still unknown and there is a need for more research of comparative and interdisciplinary nature,” according to Susanna Johansson.

“Considering the challenges in relation to the rights of children as crime victims and the spread currently under way in which several European countries start Barnahus, the book is relevant and important both within and beyond the Nordic countries.”

 

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The book is published Open Access by Palgrave Macmillan and can be downloaded here

Editors:

Susanna Johansson, School of Social Work, Lund University
Kari Stefansen, Norwegian Social Research (NOVA)

Elisiv Bakketeig, Norwegian Social Reserach (NOVA)
Anna Kaldal, Stockholm University  

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