The radicalisation of individuals leading to extremist views and ultimately terrorist violence remains a salient problem in Europe. To address the issue meaningfully, we must find key intervention opportunities and be sure to direct our efforts to practices with proven results.
However, the complexity of the radicalisation phenomenon and the lack of a unified methodology exacerbates the problem. It often results in a multitude of fragmented approaches used by practitioners across EU Member States and third countries.
The variables of radicalisation in different ideologies and the shifting global panorama require that experts and practitioners working in criminal justice develop an in-depth knowledge of complex, evolving subjects. A greater degree of expertise would allow P/CVE professionals to better adjust to individual needs, thus contributing to successful interventions.
So, for practitioners in the field, the first questions arise:
What are the best and proven practices?
Where can we find expertly developed P/CVE training and tools?
There are multiple key intersection points with radicalisation processes in prison settings; therefore, it is imperative to intervene in this context.
The increasing number of detained terrorists, including arrests and convictions of returning foreign terrorist fighters, creates challenges in managing these individuals. Prisons themselves can be used by terrorist groups to organise and radicalise new recruits. The terrorist attacks perpetrated by individuals recently released from prison increase this concern.
To succeed in the reintegration of these individuals, radicalisation prevention and disengagement must be a part of a holistic rehabilitation process. Particularly, the focus should be on improving the transition between prison, probation, and the community for individuals at risk of radicalisation or who have already been radicalised.
So, this preventive approach must include all parts involved in the process: offenders, front-line prison and probation staff, and community organisations.
How do we involve all these distinct organisations?
Where can we find and meet individuals and institutions with shared goals to build partnerships?
A hub forcontinuous training and knowledge sharing
The HOPE project developed and launched the HOPE Radicalisation Network to answer questions like those above. The new network provides a hub for continuous training and knowledge sharing between multidisciplinary stakeholders.
The initiative’s goal is to support progress in the expertise of the field, the dissemination of best practices, and overall cooperation. With this network, the project also aims to contribute to the broader European discussion and efforts around radicalisation.
This effort to promote sharing and collaboration is focused on the Balkan, Southern, and Eastern European countries due to their particular exposure to extremist threats.
A growing resource library
At the HOPE Radicalisation Network, members will find over 300 downloadable literature resources. Catalogued in 60 unique categories, the shared library includes reports, scientific articles, handbooks, manuals, and international strategies.
These multidisciplinary resources cover the vast spectrum of subjects relevant to P/CVE. Members can explore a multitude of topics, including prevention initiatives, risk assessment, and exit strategies and programmes.
With a great variety of assets, professionals can also deepen their expertise or consult information on specific problems and solutions. Therefore, the network members can find helpful documents on issues like legislation, returning foreign terrorist fighters, online radicalisation, radicalisation risk factors within youth (incl. offenders), crime-terror nexus, or multi-agency cooperation.
The HOPE Radicalisation Network resources can be greatly helpful for the training and development of professionals, including young justice workers involved in or wishing to develop their competencies in P/CVE.
In addition, members can suggest new documents and resources to complement and grow this pool of shared knowledge.
Networking and cooperation
Almost 40 organisations are already part of the network, including training and research institutions, prison and probation administrations, unions, and community organisations.
In addition to the cooperation that the HOPE network promotes, it also facilitates the practical application of shared knowledge, approaches, and strategies.
Moreover, the presence of partners from a diverse list of European countries also ensures the transferability of project results across member states.
Among the platform’s growing number of members, there are experts in offender rehabilitation, radicalisation, prison and probation administration, human rights, and other relevant fields.
Interaction is intrinsic to this P/CVE hub. To encourage networking, the members’ profiles provide thorough information, including expertise fields, name and type of organisation, and contact details.
The network also includes an online forum where users can comment, start and engage in conversations, share and exchange ideas, and build partnerships with other experts.
Getting involved in project HOPE
In the events area of the HOPE Radicalisation Network, it is possible to follow and register to participate in HOPE project’s training sessions, workshops, high-level seminars, and policy forums.
The network also makes available the recordings of the online Transnational Thematic Workshops carried out by the project – members can stay abreast of expert discussions and relevant themes.
The network is open and free for anyone involved in violent extremism prevention and countering, including prison and probation staff, community organisations’ professionals working closely with the criminal justice system, law enforcement agents, judicial practitioners, trainers, and researchers/academics. After sign-up, an administrator will review the details and approve the registration request.
The HOPE Radicalisation Network aims to build a solid and long-lasting connection between experts and practitioners involved in P/CVE efforts, especially in the Southern, Eastern, and Balkan European countries. Given the current lack of tools and learning solutionsaround radicalisation,the Network is planned to continue supporting NGOs, prison, and probation systems even after the project’s lifetime.
Taking this opportunity to be a part of a transnational training and knowledge-sharing hub symbolises a step toward a united European stance and strategy against radicalisation and violent extremism.