THE Youth Justice Agency held a lunch reception recently at its Lisburn Community Services offices. Guests including politicians, community workers, voluntary groups and other stakeholders were able to learn more about the work of the Agency and in particular how staff are addressing the needs of young people who have become involved in offending behaviour in the Lisburn area.
Franziska Hewitt, manager of the Lisburn office, gave an insight into the work of the Agency and praised the work of her staff and partner agencies as they faced the challenge of addressing youth offending.
Franziska said: "Today has been a great opportunity for local community groups and politicians to learn more about the work of the Youth Justice Agency. The Agency does valuable work in the Lisburn area in helping to divert young people away from a life of crime. We have to recognise that behind the crime figures there are families and children who are facing very complex issues. Through close work with our colleagues in youth conferencing, and with the support of local groups and the community we are helping make Lisburn a safer place for all."
She added: "We will continue to work in partnership in the area to build on young people's strengths, such as supporting their return to education or training.
"Importantly we must not forget the impact crime has on victims and the Agency offers support and provides them a voice to express their concerns."
There was also plenty of time set aside for guests, including Lagan Valley MPJeffrey Donaldson and Mayor Ronnie Crawford, to network and pose questions to YJA staff which included the Chief Executive, Bill Lockhart.