Sexual exploitation and sexual abuse are among the worst forms of violence against children. The Council of Europe Convention on Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, also known as the Lanzarote Convention, is the most ambitious and comprehensive international legal instrument aimed at preventing and protecting children from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse and prosecuting perpetrators.
The Committee of the Parties to the Lanzarote Convention referred to the Icelandic Barnahus model as an example of a promising practice in its 2015 implementation report. Barnahus is a childfriendly, multidisciplinary and interagency response model to child sexual abuse and provision of services for child victims and witnesses of violence. It enables effective collaboration between relevant judicial, social and medical actors in one childfriendly premise, in order to avoid any secondary victimisation of the child. The Barnahus model puts the best interest of the child at the heart of investigative procedures, while taking into account that the child’s disclosure is key to identify and investigate child abuse both for criminal and for protective and therapeutic purposes.