INTERNATIONAL ACTIVITIES

Juvenile Justice International has visited many interesting projects and organisations in the past year in many countries such as Hungary, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, United Kingdom, Canada, United States of America, France, Italy, Belgium, New Zealand and the Azores Islands, to name a few.

Read about our recent visits to Malta, Latvia and Hungary; three countries which all became member of the European Union in 2004 and where we now have excellent partnerships.

Malta

A recent visit to Malta by senior representation from Juvenile Justice International permitted the opportunity to meet senior members of the Maltese government, representation from the European Union based on the island, as well as members of institutions and those who serve young people. Malta joined the European Union on 1st May 2004, and it is evident that since joining a tremendous amount of work has taken place on the island to improve the infrastructure. New buildings and facilities have been built across the island offering young people additional access to leisure, training and development opportunities. Dr. Patrick Tierney (DG) also attended the Knowledge Catalyst Consortium where he witnessed first hand the Maltese government’s focus on up skilling members of the government in ICT to provide a more efficient and professional level of service delivery, including that for the provision of services to young people and within the police, prison and probation services. It is hoped that Juvenile Justice International can work closely with organisations in Malta in the future, particularly with reference to transnational opportunities and the sharing of best practice.

Latvia

Latvia, another country which joined the European Union in 2004, was visited by several members and representatives from Juvenile Justice International. During this visit we met with partners from across the EU and visited a specialist rehabilitation centre run by the Social Integration State Agency (SIVA) based at Jurmala beach, which is about 20km from Riga the capital city of Latvia. The rehabilitation centre offered a variety of services available to young people including Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Psychological Support, Social Work Support, Functional Diagnostics, Physical Therapy, Water Therapy, and Therapeutic Applications. The facilities were modern, clean, with a multi professional staff. On interviewing service users we found that they were offered excellent facilities and support and the feedback was very positive. The buildings and grounds all offered full disability access. The services offered were either free or were very affordable for those not referred through a Latvian government agency. This meant that youth services outside Latvia were able to access the facilities at a very affordable rate for individuals or groups.

Dr. Patrick Tierney (DG) stated: “The facilities here at SIVA are state of the art, offering a comprehensive service staffed by qualified professionals. The hotel accommodation on site is modern and comfortable and very affordable, the young people I have spoken to have been very positive about their experience, and the location close to Jumala beach offers a lot of scope for additional leisure opportunities. All in all a model of excellent practice.”

Hungary

Dr. Patrick Tierney (DG) was recently invited to visit the Budapest University of Technology and Economics (Budapesti Műszaki és Gazdaságtudományi Egyetem) in Hungary, one of Europe’s older and distinguished educational institutions (twinned with the Sorbonne, France), where he was given a tour of the facilities and buildings dating back to 1635 AD. The university offers a variety of courses and programmes across a wide range of programmes and qualifications levels and has a significant community outreach programme as well as ongoing transnational programmes looking at innovative delivery of services and the use of modern technology. The visit also incorporated a Visiting Professor role for Dr. Tierney who provided a lecture for Doctorate Students from the university which explained the role of Juvenile Justice International in providing Environmental programmes for Troubled Young people in the United Kingdom.

Dr. Patrick Tierney (DG) stated: “To walk around the buildings and facilities was to walk through history and was so inspirational. Many famous people including several Nobel Laureates have studied here, however the university is committed to working with all groups and offers young people from all backgrounds an excellent variety of educational opportunities. Juvenile Justice International has now cemented an excellent relationship with the university which will surely benefit our research, and for the benefit of our membership in the future.”