Child protection services (barnavernd)
At child protection services (barnavernd), there are people who look out for whether children are safe and well. That is why they want to know if something is wrong. If someone is maybe making you do something that you don’t want to do. Then the people at child protection services want to know about it.
How can I tell someone?
You don’t have to talk to child protection services, you can just talk to an adult you trust or you can yourself call 112 or use the webchat. The people there will let child protection services know.
It’s good to keep in mind that:
- you don’t have to be ashamed about people at 112 or at child protection services knowing about what happened
- what happened to you has happened to other children
- they won’t be surprised when they hear what happened to you
- they want to make sure that no one is forcing you to do something that you don’t want to do
- they want to know if you are not OK
- they want to help all children in Iceland
- it does not cost anything to get help
The emergency room for victims of sexual abuse
Sometimes people who have experience sexual abuse go to a special reception at the hospital. It is called the emergency room for victims of sexual abuse. There are receptions like this in Reykjavík and Akureyri.
At the reception, a nurse will talk to you and you will decide together what you want to do. At the emergency rooms you can:
- Get medical help.
- Sometimes pictures are taken so there is evidence.
- Child protection services are told that you went there.
If you are not sure if you should go to the emergency room for victims of sexual assault or to a health clinic, you can call 112 for guidance.
Abuse on the internet
If someone is abusing you online, that is just as serious as any other offence. Call 112 or use the webchat to get help.
Don’t block the perpetrator on social media although you may want to. It’s hard to do but well worth trying. If you decide to press charges, your communication history is data in the case, but it disappears if you block someone.
More people are involved
It is not only child protection services that take on your case. The police also do, and a lawyer who is called a legal rights protector (réttargæslumaður in Icelandic). All of these people work together. Then they communicate with your parents or guardians about what happens.
The Children’s House (Barnahús)
In order to learn what happened, a person at the Children’s House will talk to you. The Children’s House is just a regular house and the room looks like a lot of other rooms you’ve been in. When you talk to the person, it’s just the two of you in the room. What you say is recorded and if your case goes to court then the recording is played in the courtroom. There are Children’s Houses in Akureyri and in Reykjavík. If you live somewhere else, then a person from the Children’s House will come to you.
Help to feel better
The people who work at the Children’s House help you feel better. It is child protection services that ask for you to get treatment at the Children’s House. Then you and your parents talk to a psychologist who has a lot of experience helping children.
The police are called
Sometimes the police know about the offence already. Maybe someone has let them know. Maybe someone called them and asked them to come right away because something was wrong. The police always let child protection services know if they know of children who are not OK or who are in danger.
The police investigate
The people at the police collect all kinds of information about what happened. For example, they talk to witnesses if there are any, and they talk to the person who committed the offence against you, and more. They do that so they can prove what happened.
Legal rights protector (Réttargæslumaður)
That is a lawyer who helps you and your parents or guardians. You don’t have to pay them, the state does that.