The EU faces ongoing concerns from radicalisation and terrorist violence posed by Islamist (including returnees) and far-right extremists. Yet there remains a significant knowledge gap related to state-led interventions to manage, support, and (as required) rehabilitate, and reintegrate children whose parents are affiliated with violent extremist organizations.
The societal bias, sensationalism, and exceptionalism often associated with violent extremism compounds risks of stigma and securitisation of these children. Steps, where required, should be taken towards their rehabilitation and reintegration as measures to address their vulnerabilities. Viewing children as vulnerable (and sometimes traumatised), rather than as ‘ticking time bombs’, will ensure that approaches to their disengagement and reintegration prioritise their rights and well-being, further enhancing their resilience.
This urge led to the start of a new, EU-funded project in 2022: Promoting collaborative policies of inclusion relating to children of far right and Islamist parents in Western Europe (PREPARE). PREPARE is guided by a human-rights, rule-of-law and gender informed approach. PREPARE will help make contemporary knowledge, training, and tools accessible to directly inform state-led interventions with children of violent extremists. The PREPARE project will focus on six case studies: Sweden, The Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain and Kosovo.
About the project
This project has a bold aim: to identify the vulnerabilities and stigmas children may face when their parents are part of violent extremist networks and how those can best be addressed by relevant front-line actors in an informed, prepared, and collaborative way that centres on the needs of the child.
This will be done through:
- The development of a new, unique Child Vulnerability and Intervention Tool;
- Train-the-trainer activities to assist professionals in delivering support;
- Targeted workshops focused on identifying and supporting the vulnerabilities of children in these environments;
- Knowledge dissemination through leveraging networks and publications, promoting the preparedness and stakeholder collaboration of those working directly with these children and families.
You can find the official website for the PREPARE project here and more related publications and regular updates here.