About the Children’s House
If there is a suspicion that you have been sexually abused then you will be interviewed in the Children’s House. Those who are 15 years and older go to the police station to give a statement. It is child protection services or the police who request that you are interviewed, not your loved ones.
The Children’s Houses are in Reykjavík and in Akureyri.
The story of the Children's House
Going to the Children’s House is nothing like going to a police station. The Children’s House just looks like a regular house.
What questions do they ask?
The questions in the interview are not complicated. The person asking you questions makes sure that the questions don’t make you think about something that didn’t happen. You can trust the person because they only ask questions that are proven to be the best questions for interviews like this.
All children are interviewed in a similar way, but always according to their age. For example, sometimes drawings are used for younger children. If you have any kind of diagnosis or medical condition, child protection services lets the Children’s House know. That is so you can feel better in the interview.
The person who asks questions
In the interview, it’s just you and the person from the Children’s House who is asking you questions. The person has gotten special training in doing these interviews. They are not allowed to do anything else in the interview than what they are supposed to do. There are very strict rules about that. The people who talk to you just want to find out what happened.
The interview is recorded
You don’t have to go to the courtroom and bear witness there. That is because the interview with you is recorded and played in the courtroom.
Your parents or guardians are in another room while you are in the interview. They don't watch or listen.
People from the police and courts
Because the interview is recorded and used as your testimony about the offence, certain people need to be in the house as well. They are in another room while you are in the interview and they follow along.
The judge has to be there. They can talk to the person who is asking you questions through an earpiece. They only do that if there is something more that they want to know about the offence.
Then there are other people who are also in the same room as the judge and they just watch the interview.
- Your legal rights protector. Your legal rights protector is the lawyer the state provides you and your family.
- The investigator from the police.
- A representative from child protection services.
- The perpetrator’s defence (their lawyer).
After the interview
When the interview is finished, you can go to an interview about treatment. That is another type of interview but is also in the Children’s House. Then you start getting what is called trauma-based therapy. That is to help you feel better. People who experience sexual abuse often experience trauma and feel bad.
If you don’t have symptoms of trauma, you can go to a psychologist that you and your parents choose on your own. Your parents and guardians follow along with your treatment and their participation is very important so you can feel better.
The length of children’s interviews can be very different. They can take 10 minutes or 2 hours. Sometimes 2 interviews are needed.
You can get a doctor to examine you at the Children’s House. Sometimes children who have experienced something bad find it good to have the doctor tell them that everything is OK. In that case it is a children’s doctor (paediatrician), nurse, or gynaecologist who examines you.
The medical examination is not a forensic examination. That means that they are not looking for evidence to use in court. The doctors sometimes go to court to talk about the results of the examination if they have something important to say.
When I turn 15
Sometimes an offence happens when you are 14 and then two years pass until the case goes to court. Then you have turned 15 and you have to go to the courtroom. If that happens, there are people with you to help you, like someone you know from the child protection agency and your legal rights protector.