Deradicalisation

In cases where radicalisation processes have progressed to the point that danger to self or others is imminent (or has already occurred), professional deradicalisation or disengagement assistance is required. People who have been radicalised to this point need to be addressed individually and in a targeted manner. Radicalised people are characterised by a deep mistrust of (state) institutions and representatives of the majority society. In this scenario, the decisive, often underestimated challenge is not the direct ideological confrontation, but establishing contact. People whose radicalisation (regardless of their ideological orientation) is explicitly based on their rejection of the “system” require a specific approach in order to even engage in a dialogue. A strategy based on confrontation and argumentative refutation ignoring biographical factors, which neglects this relationship factor, is counterproductive.

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Regardless of the ideological orientation (whether extreme-right or religiously motivated extremism), establishing a reliable working relationship based on trust is an essential prerequisite for any deradicalisation and dissociation process. Since 2011, Violence Prevention Network has been working on behalf of the security agencies with detained adult criminals with terrorist background. In 2014, this work was systematically expanded to include highly radicalised people from the Islamist spectrum and returnees. In recognition of gender-specific roles and structures in radicalisation processes, women and girls have also been part of the target group for several years. In addition to working directly with the radicalised people, the parents of the radicalised are also included in the targeted counselling and deradicalisation efforts.

Violence Prevention Network operates a nationwide network of advice centres and hotlines, which can be accessed by people at risk of radicalisation, people willing to reintegrate, returnees, and their relatives.