A direct line between researchers and practitioners: Sharing best practices on radicalised youth rehabilitation


In response to the proliferation of terrorist attacks as an extremist ideological protest tool, the international concern and efforts to prevent and counter radicalisation increased substantially over the last couple of decades. The literature on the subject has grown, and diverse approaches and practices are used across different jurisdictions.

Practitioners and researchers must make use of this accrued knowledge to select and adapt the best strategies. This choice can mean early identification of radicalisation cases and adjusted evaluation, disengagement/deradicalisation, and reintegration measures.

Therefore,it is essential to stimulate and share in-depth and up-to-date knowledge on:

  • The broad phenomena of radicalisation and violent extremism;
  • Ideological and belief variables;
  • Local specificities brought on by history, political and geographical landscape;
  • Individual vulnerabilities to radicalisation and violent behaviour;
  • Successful disengagement and reintegration efforts.

Working with radicalised or at risk of radicalisation youth

In addition to the abovementioned topics, practitioners need to account for the particular challenges and vulnerabilities of the groups they work with, as is the case of professionals working with youth.

The relation of young people with risky behaviours and a heightened need to establish their identity are factors that must be accounted for in any assessment or intervention.

Moreover, the period of transition from school to the job market can also generate risk scenarios in poor social and economic contexts due to unemployment and social exclusion.   

Generally, young people also have broader access and deeper involvement with the internet and online communities. As such, individuals can be more susceptible to radicalisation strategies and online recruiting, simply as a matter of access.

These circumstances may or may not contribute to the radicalisation process of young people, but the knowledge of their influence and appropriate preventive strategies must be part of the practitioners’ toolbox.

An invaluable prevention resource: The HOPE Radicalisation Network

Finding extensive and reliable information on the wide-ranging topics of radicalisation prevention can be challenging. For practitioners without access to research archives and tools, even more so.

But the HOPE – Holistic Radicalisation Prevention Initiative took action to fill that gap. 

The HOPE Radicalisation Network is a solution that moves the burden from an individual search for resources to a community effort on cooperation and information sharing.

Practitioners can explore materials to learn more about different subjects on radicalisation prevention and preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE), including radicalisation prevention in youth. The network has more than 300 free resources that include documents with data on radicalisation drivers in youth, approaches to deradicalisation through improved community links and education, or actionable recommendations for practitioners who want to counter online disinformation.

HOPE Radicalisation Network members can find data about youth radicalisation in several countries. The geographical scope of the network allows sharing of in-depth reports and analyses shedding light on local challenges and particularities of regions and nations in the Balkans and Eastern Europe. 

Practitioners in the network can also use it as a direct line to other experts and researchers. Through messages or by asking questions in the forum, members can get responses and generate discussions directly with other specialists.

The online hub also hosts the recordings of the online Transnational Thematic Workshops carried out by the HOPE project. Network members can stay abreast of expert discussions and get invited to future events.

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 educators, and researchers/academics. 

To join the network, interested users can request to sign up. After signing up, an administrator will review the details and approve the registration request.

This network is part of HOPE project’s goal to support continuous training, information and experience sharing on the topic of P/CVE within the Balkans, Southern, and Eastern Europe.

With these new tools at their disposal, the practitioners and experts linked through the network can cooperate to achieve better results in the various complementing areas of P/CVE. This vision strives toward a holistic approach involving all relevant stakeholders in a concerted effort to prevent and counter radicalisation.

The HOPE – Holistic Radicalisation Prevention Initiative is led by IPS_Innovative Prison Systems (Portugal) in partnership with the University College of Norwegian Correctional Service (Norway), Agenfor International Foundation (Italy), the Euro-Arab Foundation for Advanced Studies (Spain), the Bulgarian Association for Policy Evaluation, the Bulgarian General Directorate “Execution of Sentences”, the Bucharest-Jilava Penitentiary (Romania), the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights (Serbia) and the Slovenian Probation Administration (Ministry of Justice). 

For more information about the HOPE project, please visit www.hope-radproject.eu


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