The best prevention is to stop people from getting involved in violent extremist or terrorist activities in the first place, or to convince them to turn away from such ideas and methods. This requires also the efforts of counsellors and educators to gain a better understanding of the behaviours and tactics, and to mitigate or prevent those activities.
Most young people pass successfully through to adulthood and deal well with the challenges involved in growing up. However, for a critical minority, adolescence is a time when serious problems emerge or earlier difficulties escalate. They may have difficulties at school, lack good role models or the resilience to deal with new pressures or risks. Maybe they were confronted with alienation from a part of the population and experienced discrimination and open or hidden racism. Since they do not see positive social and professional perspectives, a raising number succumbs to the false promises of extremist ideologies, such as Neo-Nazi groups or the „Islamic State“.
The consequences of not getting support can be very serious. „The best prevention is to stop people from getting involved in violent extremist or terrorist activities in the first place, or to convince them to turn away from such ideas and methods…. The people best placed to tackle the phenomenon of radicalisation are the so called first-liners – people in direct contact with targeted individuals or vulnerable groups of population“ (Radicalisation Awareness Network of the European Commission).
These „first-liners“ need therefore new skills and competences to be better prepared to deal with intercultural tensions between diverse groups of learners and detect, at an early stage, indicators of radicalisation among their learners. However, many of them have had their vocational education years ago, and many of them are completely or partially unprepared to the changes in the way in which our society is organized and which conceptual aspects of radicalisation pose a threat.
We will raise their awareness and identify initiatives, best practice examples and tools that help them do their work better, for example, to help find out who is at risk and the best way of helping people who need support. What tools and methods are available and most effective to provide this support? Who has undergone traumatic experience and shows a behaviour that is a consequence of post-traumatic stress disorder? How can a teacher detect such symptoms?
The overall objectives are to identify and collect evidence-based approaches, initiatives, programmes and methods that show how to:
- make youth and vocational counselling services more attractive and to contribute to de-radicalisation.
- counteract the negative effects of alienation that occurs frequently to adolescents and which often prepares the path to join groups with extreme ideologies, be it Neo-Nazi, the Islamic State or other terrorist movements
- encourage young people to think critically about extremist messages
- provide vocational teachers and counsellors with best practice about effective tools and methods, in order to help them do their work better
More information is available at the project website.