First PREPARE workshop in The Hague – Expert opinions on children living in violent extremist families

On the 10th and 11th May 2022, the PREPARE partners met in The Hague, Netherlands, for an internal partner meeting, as well as for hosting their first workshop with external professionals who discussed the PREPARE project and provided their expert insights into the vulnerabilities and risk factors of children from violent extremist families.

On the first day, 10th May, the consortium gathered and updated all partners on the progress of the project and its tasks. Discussing the work carried out so far gave partners an overview of the status of the project as a whole and allowed them to see how each activity is working towards PREPARE’s goal of ensuring the well-being, safety and security of children exposed to violent extremist home environments.

On the second day, 11th May, the first PREPARE workshop was held, bringing together practitioners from the police, child-protection agencies, health and education, policymakers, project leads, and academic experts. As the PREPARE project focuses on six European countries facing notable challenges with extremism (France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden), the experts that attended the workshop were chosen because they work in these countries. Therefore, experts were able to offer views from within their profession and country specifically, providing a cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural perspective.

The workshop was set out as a series of panel presentations, with continuous discussions on the topics raised, as well as focus groups to expand on and exchange experiences and knowledge related to children growing up in Islamist and far-right extremist families.

During the workshop, we discussed what makes extremists families unique. Specifically, what sets violent extremist families apart from other families facing challenges. Project partners and experts then moved on to discuss the prominent risk factors and resilience factors present in violent extremist families. Finally, they discussed the interventions and tools that are currently being implemented to assess the vulnerabilities and risks of children growing up in extremist environments.

These valuable discussions and insights from the project partner meeting and workshop will inform PREPARE’s continued work to develop tools and trainings to support children in violent extremist homes.