Offline and online Radicalisation Prevention Holding back Extremism and Upholding Security | 2 Mers Seas Zeeën

ORPHEUS

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Offline and online Radicalisation Prevention Holding back Extremism and Upholding Security

Priority Axis

Technological and Social Innovation

Specific objective

Social Innovation

Lead partner

City of Mechelen

Contact

Start Date

01/02/2019

End Date

30/09/2022

Project budget

4 315 672

ERDF amount

2 589 403

ERDF rate

60%

    About

    Common challenge

    In European cities, the threat of radicalisation towards all types of political violence, such as jihadi, extreme right, hate crime, is a significant and rising societal concern. Since 2014, more than 30 fatal attacks have been carried out in Europe. Over 50.000 Islamist violent extremists were counted in 2017, while the number of extreme-right arrests increased. Counterterrorism experts describe the youth at risk as solitary adolescents estranged from family, friends and social institutions, with a lack of positive prospects, both real and perceived, and in search of belonging. This social alienation makes them receptive to a groomer’s attention. Both policymakers and field workers acknowledge the need to engage with young people more effectively to reduce the risk of radicalisation.

    Main Achievements

    The threat of radicalisation and all types of political violence is a significant and rising societal concern. Experts describe the youth at risk as solitary adolescents estranged from family, friends and social institutions. This social alienation makes them receptive to a grooming. Policymakers and field workers acknowledge the need to engage with young people more effectively. No single Member State is able to fully respond to the current threats of political violence on its own. European countries have developed their own approaches, however, their expertise remains fragmented, and is not easily transferred to other regions. Whilst extremism groups and narratives operate across national borders, it is crucial that our response is transnational. In order to fill the knowledge gap on prevention, local practices need to be researched, tested and adapted on a cross-border level.

    ORPHEUS develops new integrated and aligned services for online and offline prevention of political violence by extending the prevention service together with private and social institutions, and with young people and their educators as central actors.

    ORPHEUS provides:

    1. Offline safe spaces for vulnerable young people to express their grievances;
    2. Online safety for young people to protect them from online grooming; and;
    3. Guidance and policy recommendations for adoption of an integrated prevention method in the 2Seas area.

    In the first year of the project it was essential to align the different approaches of the project partners, consisting of cities, social services, educational services and knowledge centres, all working withing a different context and region. The project partners wrote a thorough position paper on the main principles and the theoretical underpinnings. Next to developing a solid basis for our cooperation, input from observer partners and other stakeholders was essential. During the succesful kick-off meeting in Ghent (more than 80 participants from different countries), we presented ORPHEUS and asked feedback and input. Additionally, and of equal importance, was the set-up of local engaged networks and the preparation of the local pilots, i.c. the safe spaces. Concerning the online prevention, it is important to find a connection with young people in their online fora. As these fora are volatile and change quickly, a communication plan was prepared and discussed. The preparation of the training sessions was aligned, and cross-border cooperation established.

    Partnership

    Partners

    Portsmouth City Council

    University of Portsmouth

    Arteveldehogeschool Gent

    Greta Grand Littoral

    Centre of Expertise and Advice for Prevention and Intervention of Radicalism and Extremism

    University College Roosevelt

    Contourdetwern