Bairns' Hoose

Bairns’ Hoose is Scotland’s approach to the Icelandic ‘Barnahus’, which means ‘children’s house’. Bairns’ Hoose offers holistic, child-centred support to those who have been victims or witness of abuse and to children under the age of criminal responsibility whose behaviour has caused harm.  


Our 2022 to 2023 Programme for Government commitment is to “Set out the next steps in ensuring access to “Bairns’ Hoose” services for all children referred for support”.  

On 31 May 2023 National Bairns’ Hoose Standards were published. These Standards set out what Bairns’ Hoose will mean for the children, young people and their families who will use its services, as well as for the professionals. 

Vision, values and approach

We are progressing with a phased approach to implementation and our Project Plan progress report and Pathfinder Delivery Plan describes the next steps we will take. 

Our Children and Young People participation and engagement plan, describes how children and young people will be involved in the development and implementation of the Bairns’ Hoose. 

Governance group 

The Group will drive forward delivery of the model. Val de Souza was appointed as independent chair the National Bairns’ Hoose Governance Group in February 2022. The Group held its inaugural meeting on 12 October 2022.  

Scottish model for joint investigative interviews 

Joint Investigative Interviews are formal interviews conducted with a child by trained police officers and social workers. The National Joint Investigative Interviewing (JII) Project was established in 2017 to develop a new approach to the joint investigative interviewing of children in Scotland, the Scottish Child Interview Model (SCIM). 

The key principles of the new Scottish Child Interview Model remain fundamental to many other Scottish Government initiatives, including the Bairns’ Hoose model. Successful national rollout of the new Scottish Child Interview Model is considered a precondition for national Bairns’ Hoose implementation.

We continue to fund the national JII Team. We work with justice and social work agencies to improve the quality and process for JIIs with vulnerable child witnesses. This includes updating ofnational guidance and improving technology and facilities.  

Oversight of the delivery and continued evaluation of the national rollout is being undertaken through the COSLA/Police Scotland co-chaired National JII Governance Group.      

The COSLA website provides regular updates on the roll out of the model.  

Keep up to date

If you wish to  keep up to date with the Bairns’ Hoose policy, email 

If you are concerned about a child or young person

Call 999 if they are in immediate danger

Call the police on 101 if you think a crime has been committed

More about reporting a concern and for advice and support

Back to top