The child house concept is based on best practice learned from the USA and Scandinavia. Recognising the vulnerability of the child victim and the harm caused to the child by multiple interviews, the child house uses a child-friendly response to child sexual abuse (CSA).
In the UK, 2 child houses are available in the city of London, in Wales there is none.
As a child, you do not know who and where to run to, you do not know that there is any support available, if we can offer Child Houses across the UK, we can save children.
As a continuation of Refuges for Domestic Violence, there should be Child Houses for children suffering child sexual abuse.
We know that many children who are suffering child abuse will at some point try and escape, they will want to free themselves, but they have no where to go, They will be returned back home, back into the arms of their abuser.
Providing a safe house, that is child-friendly, that can open the way for disclosure and safeguarding, is something not to be ignored.
In Iceland, the ‘Barnahus’ model has been in place since 1998, and offers in one place, forensic interviews, making court statements, medical examinations and access to therapeutic services.
We should look at this model and then consider its adaption, to make this available like we do a domestic violence refuge. Since the Barnahus model was established in Iceland, the number of child victims of CSA coming forward for help has more than doubled per year, indictments have tripled, and convictions have doubled. This is enough evidence to show they are crucial.
Not only should we be providing child houses, but we should continue this with educating children that there are, safe, child-friendly, therapeutic options available.
Please join my Campaign to address this issue and push for the Welsh Government to provide a Child House in Wales.
The new Child House open in London ‘The Lighthouse‘, is accessible for children to access support, but we cannot surely expect children to get to London from other areas of the United Kingdom, if they are even aware such houses exist!
Our children need somewhere to run to, they need to be safe and they need to have access to the correct support to save themselves from the life sentence of Child Sexual Abuse.
ITV Wales Interview calling on the Welsh Government to follow London in setting up Child House for children suffering from Child Abuse.
On the 11th October 2018, the e-petition to:
Provide Child Houses in Wales for Victims of Child Sexual Abuse
Petition: P-05-859: On Tuesday the 8th January I attended the Senedd to Handover the Petition.
I was met by the media including ITV Wales, BBC Wales and Wales Online, and was very honoured to have a number of Assembly Members in attendance for the Handover.
The Petition was discussed and met with a united response and recognition of how important the Child House is, to saving children and from a child’s perspective. My backstory to the petition was also discussed, and I can not thank enough the Chair of the Committee, David Rowlands AM who showed a genuine compassion and understanding of what this petition meant to me.
It was an overwhelming, but proud moment.
On Tuesday 15th January the Petitions Committee discussed the Petition Live via Senedd TV, Petition and Actions were set in place to move this forward. An absolutely momentous occasion!
The opening words of David Rowalnds AM:
“I would like to personally congratulate Mayameen on the Courage she has showed in bringing this petition to the committee in the first place”
Thank you David Rowlands AM for this honourable introduction and for allowing my voice to be heard.
After receiving the petition, Caroline Jones AM said: “Mayameen Meftahi is a truly inspirational woman, subjected to years of harrowing abuse at the hands of her own father, she has, with immense bravery, decided to speak up for child victims of sexual abuse. Her story may be harrowing, but her drive and message are commendable and I hope the Welsh Government will listen.
Tuesday 19th March 2019: The Petition was discussed again at the Senedd. Another positive discussion, however clear clarification that the issue we have surrounding Child Sexual Abuse, is the blurring of information, outdated guidelines and lack of prioritising!
I would also like to state, that this petition and campaign is nothing to do with gender, it is not gender specific nor does gender even need to be discussed, because it is about CHILDREN!
I will be responding to the Senedd as requested.
MOVEMENT SUCCESS: legacy
I received this email to advise about the debate that: Bethan Sayed was taking forward the motion to propose the National Assembly for Wales to:
1. Notes a proposal for a bill to reform and improve support for child victims of sexual abuse in Wales
2. Notes the purpose of this bill would be to: a) introduce the Barnahus Model of therapeutic led support for victims; b) work with police to use the Barnahus Model of investigation in all cases of child sexual abuse; and c) introduce statutory changes to improve emergency and temporary accommodation for abused children who cannot return to their home or are homeless.
This was fantastic news and then news came in from Bethan Sayed that we won!!!!!
A massive thank you to Bethan Sayed Am who pushed this through for debate and to Caroline Jones Am, whom has spoken so honourably of myself, that I am “one of the most inspirational women she has had the pleasure to meet… Waiving her Anonymity and going public to raise this Campaign to prioritise children from Sexual Abuse, we owe it to her to listen”… I broke at that point!
This Petition only raised 227 signatures, which was not enough to take to debate, however I decided to attend the Petition Handover and I shared my story as to what this means and why. I honour the Power of my Story and thank you to those who signed.
Voting time: For 29 | Abstain 18 | Against 2 | Total 49 – Motion was Agreed
Legacy has been made in my name. This is the power of the voice when broken from silence.
Calls For Safe Houses For Victims Of Child Abuse
A proposal to introduce better help and support is going before the Senedd.
It follows calls from campaigner for emergency accommodation for children who have suffered sexual abuse – some of whom are forced to live with their abusers.
The petition was started by Mayameen Meftahi from Swansea. She was just four years of age when she started being abused.
LISTEN here to her story.