Child's House to help children who've been sexually abused

David Schwimmer advocates project to help children access all the services they need in one place

David Schwimmer - credit NSPCC/jonchallicomThe Hollywood actor and director, David Schwimmer, has voiced his support for the NSPCC’s plans to set up a ‘Child’s House’ - a scheme where a child who has been sexually abused can access all the services they need under one roof. 

Speaking at our annual state flagship conference How Safe are Our Children?, David talked about his role and commitment as a Director on The Rape Foundation Board which runs Stuart House. Stuart House in California is the equivalent of a ‘Child’s House’ and helps children who've been sexually abused recover from the traumatic effects of abuse.

"I’m honoured to take part in the NSPCC's annual How Safe conference, and to support the urgent fight for the creation of more comprehensive Child Advocacy centres in the U.K"
David Schwimmer / Director on The Rape Foundation Board

The Child House model

The Stuart House Programme echoes of a service which is being considered for London. 

The NSPCC, in collaboration with NHS England, MOPAC and the Home Office, are working to set up a number of ‘Child’s Houses’. Under the scheme a child, who will suffering from the traumatising effects of abuse, will be able to access the services they need in a child-focused environment:

    • medical and forensic examinations could be undertaken
    • a psychologist would be on hand to help with police interviews
    • therapeutic help for the victims and their families would be available
    • a remote video link would be set-up for the child’s cross-examination for an ensuing trial.

These facilities will help ensure there is consistent support for the child and allow them to give evidence in a friendly environment instead of facing the terrifying ordeal of giving evidence in court. 

Peter Wanless, NSPCC Chief Executive, said:
“Children who have suffered sexual abuse are the most vulnerable in society. However the services these children need to recover – and to help bring their perpetrator to justice – are often delivered in buildings designed for adults. This causes additional stress and anxiety to an already traumatised child. 

“The ‘Child’s House’ scheme will put the child’s care and recovery at its centre. By allowing the child to to give their evidence remotely, we can minimise their suffering, improve the quality of evidence they give, and to ensure they can get the justice they deserve.” 

What we’re doing now

After a review of sexual abuse services for children in London in 2015 found that support was patchy and variable, it was recommended that 5 Child Houses should be established in London, where young people can receive all their care and follow up treatment.

The NSPCC is currently scoping the feasibility of partnering in the development of a Child’s House in North London. Under this arrangement it would be based at an established NSPCC Service Centre in North London and we would provide the service manager, play therapists and advocates.

If adopted in the UK this could potentially be a huge step towards improving outcomes for children and young people as well as benefiting the criminal justice system. 

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