Enhancing the resilience of children exposed to violent extremist environments – Trilateral joins the PREPARE project

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Trilateral Research |

Date: 13 January 2022

Trilateral Research joins five partners in a new EU funded project starting in 2022: PRomoting collaborativE Policies of inclusion relAting to children of far Right and Islamist parents in Western Europe (PREPARE). PREPARE is an 18-month project funded by the European Commission under grant agreement No 101035861 and is a response to the ISFP-2020-AG-RAD call with a total budget of approximately €800,000.

This project has a bold aim: to identify the vulnerabilities and stigmas children may face when their parents are part of violent extremist networks and how those can best be addressed by relevant front-line actors in an informed, prepared, and collaborative way that centres on the needs of the child. PREPARE is guided by a human-rights, rule-of-law, and gender informed approach.

There is a generation of children that have faced unique and significant challenges, and in some cases unspeakable horrors, through their parents’ association with, and roles in, terrorist groups. I’m proud to work with this research team to support these children, and the professionals working with them.” Says Dr Joana Cook of Leiden University, lead investigator of PREPARE.

“The harm that children of radicalised parents can experience ranges from accepting extreme views which confines their social interaction and full engagement with their education, to young children being taken to conflict zones and exploited in violence. Trilateral Research is pleased to have received funding for project PREPARE so that we can continue our work in safeguarding children.” Says Dr Julia Muraszkiewicz of Trilateral Research.

PREPARE will help make contemporary knowledge, training and tools accessible to directly inform state-led interventions with children of violent extremists. The outputs include the development of a new, unique Child Vulnerability and Intervention Tool, train-the-trainer activities, targeted workshops focused on identifying and supporting the vulnerabilities of children in these environments, and knowledge dissemination.

The project’s short, medium, and long-term beneficiaries include front line practitioners (including those in police forces, social services, child protection agencies, health and education), families of violent extremist actors, policymakers, researchers, and their local communities across Europe. It ultimately supports stakeholder collaboration and preparedness in this work.

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The project focuses on six European countries facing pronounced challenges from Islamist and far right extremists: Netherlands, Spain, France, Sweden, Germany, and Kosovo. However, it will be of interest and relevance also to other EU member states facing similar challenges.

Building on our previous experience of safeguarding children, Trilateral Research’s role in PREPARE is three-fold: designing and developing train-the-trainer modules for frontline practitioners involved in disengagement and reintegration programmes, elaborating and implementing the project’s ethics, privacy and data management plan and ensuring the widespread dissemination and impact of the project outputs. Trilateral will not only outline the principles, standards and guidelines to be followed by the project but support the overall mission of PREPARE by designing materials that will train frontline professionals to respond sensitively, avoid bias and protect vulnerable children exposed to radicalized environments.

Meet the team

The project is led by five EU partners: Leiden University’s Institute of Security and Global Affairs (ISGA), The Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), Trilateral Research, The International Centre for Counter-Terrorism (ICCT), and the Security Department, Basque government (Gobierno Vasco – Departmento Seguridad).

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