Identifying the stigmas and vulnerabilities of children exposed to violent extremist environments – what are the challenges?

Children in Western Europe can be exposed to violent extremism in their families. In turn, this can have a harmful impact on their wellbeing and development.

Despite an increase in awareness of this exposure, there remains a significant knowledge gap related to state-led approaches to support children in family environments where they are exposed to violent extremism. Children growing up in such home environments are likely to face a wide range of unique stigmas and vulnerabilities, which may be further exacerbated by societal bias and media reports that vilify these children.

Enhancing child resilience through a state-of-the-art and train-the-trainer modules

PREPARE 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 will do this by:

  • Making contemporary knowledge, training, and tools accessible to directly inform state-led interventions with children of violent extremists
  • Creating a unique Child Vulnerability and Intervention Tool and train-the-trainer modules to strengthen the collaboration and enhance the preparedness of frontline stakeholders involved in rehabilitation and reintegration programmes
  • Using a human-rights, rule-of-law, and gender informed approach to mitigate the risk of stigmatisation, polarisation, and discrimination

PREPARE 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.

Training frontline professionals

Building on our previous experience of safeguarding children, Trilateral designs and develops train-the-trainer modules for frontline practitioners involved in rehabilitation and reintegration programmes.

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 violent extremist environments.

Ethical and social impact

Trilateral identifies the challenges along with the ethical and social issues that need to be considered in the development of PREPARE tools.

Trilateral develops recommendations to ensure the project tools are built using a human-rights, rule-of-law, and gender informed approach, to mitigate the risk of stigmatisation, polarisation, and discrimination.

Enhancing impact via raising awareness and strengthening engagement

Trilateral works on enhancing the project’s findings by creating a network of frontline practitioners, including NGOs, Law Enforcement Agencies, CBOs, social and welfare services, psychosocial health and education, as well as policymakers, academics, and the media to help inform the public about the project and its results. ​

Reaching out to the relevant stakeholder communities will help support the project’s plan for the uptake of the PREPARE tool and training modules by frontline practitioners and drive effective policy change.

For more information, visit the project website and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.
EU flag yellow low e1523448262817
This project was funded by the European Union’s Internal Security Fund — Police (ISFP) programme under grant agreement No 10103586

Learn more about our research in the field of

Law Enforcement and Community Safeguarding

Let's discuss your career