The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution has reported new momentum and the worrying emergence of new networks in the right-wing extremist scene. Over the past years, there has been a surge in the number of right-wing extremists considered by the police to be especially dangerous. The number of high-risk individuals in the far-right scene has doubled since 2016, and Berlin is a hot spot.
The Task Force on Youth Violence and Right-Wing Extremism at the TU Berlin reports that the demographics of suspects in cases of right-wing extremist violence have changed: while young people under 18 used to make up half of all suspects, that figure has decreased to 25%. This means that traditional approaches to prevention work in schools and youth welfare organisations are no longer suitable for addressing the target group.
The REE! project operates a mobile advice centre. It works with the federal and state security authorities to reach out to (young) adults up to the age of 27 (and older individuals in specific cases) from the far-right scene who have not yet expressed any intrinsic desire to exit the scene. Another target group of the project consists of relatives and fellow community members of radicalised individuals who are seeking advice. REE! aims to involve them in the counselling process, during which the project workers help them find a suitable, supportive role for themselves in the distancing process of the radicalised person.
- Establishing contact with radicalised individuals who may pose a threat
- Provision of counselling services to help right-wing extremists distance themselves from the scene and undergo a process of deradicalisation
- Risk prevention
- Provision of support, counselling and (if necessary) deradicalisation services to families and other community members of the main target group
- Establishment of a multi-agency approach involving governmental agencies (in particular, security authorities) and a private counselling structure in Berlin
The collaboration between governmental agencies and a private counselling structure constructively combines multiple relevant aspects of the field: identification and registration, criminal prosecution or other legal measures, and pedagogic intervention. This combination helps the measures remain effective in the long term.
The REE! project is funded by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth as part of the federal programme “Live Democracy!” and co-funded by the Berlin State Committee against Violence (Landeskommission Berlin gegen Gewalt), part of the Berlin State Programme for the Prevention of Radicalisation.