At the beginning of June, members of the JRS UK team joined other JRS European offices for the annual conference on JRS’s work in immigration detention. The Detention Visitors Support Group (DVSG), this year held in Porto, brings together the JRS European offices currently accompanying those held in immigration detention. The DVSG offers the opportunity for experiences to be shared and discuss joint campaign priorities moving forward. Representatives from 12 European offices attended the meeting, which this year focused on building resilience in detention.
William, Detention Outreach Officer at JRS UK, said “The DVSG was a really great opportunity to meet with JRS colleagues who accompany individuals in detention across Europe. Although there are differences in the detention system and the support JRS provides in each country, there were many shared themes across our work. Sharing our experiences really allowed us to bounce ideas around and has left our team with a lot of food for thought.”
The 3 day meeting involved training on building resilience in detention, which was led by members of the JRS Portugal team. William continued, “The individuals we accompany in detention are in an incredibly stressful situation, which, over time, can impact their well-being. The training enabled us to discuss ways in which we can identify resilience within individuals, and empower them to build this resilience.”
Participants were invited to visit the detention centre where JRS Portugal works in Porto, currently the only detention centre in Portugal with the capacity to hold 30 individuals for a maximum of 60 days. Following this visit, representative of IOM (International Organisation for Migration) and SEF (the border service in Portugal) were invited to give presentations on their work and answer questions on the context of detention in Portugal.
JRS UK accompanies individuals held in immigration detention near Heathrow airport. You can accompany those we visit in detention through our monthly prayer resource.