Worried about radicalisation? Two-day workshop interested professionals working with youth

Growing radical? project's Saija Benjamin and doctoral researcher Katja Vallinkoski planned and organized a two-day training on radicalization and its prevention for educators, youth workers and police together with Save the Children.

Worried about the radicalization of a young person? Expertise, prevention and interprofessional cooperation

The aim of the training was to increase expertise and develop ideas for multi-professional cooperation. The training was funded by the Ministry of the Interior and was part of the National Action Plan for the Prevention of Violent Radicalization and Extremism. The two-day training for school personnel, youth workers and police officers attracted a great deal of interest from professionals and the training places were quickly filled.

Why was the training organized?

In line with international trends, violent attitudes and activities have also increased in Finland. Various violent extremist ideologies intrigue young people who are constructing their worldviews, and the rapidly spreading conspiracy theories online may act as introductions into these. Violent groups (online & offline) are particularly interested in new young supporters.

In their daily encounters with young people, school personnel, youth workers and the police play a key role in the broad-based prevention of violent radicalization and extremism among young people and in the early detection of radicalization. Building effective co-operation between youth workers, school staff and the police is very important, as international experience shows that interprofessional actions are most effective in disrupting the process of radicalization of young people.

The aim of the training was to develop participants' expertise in the phenomena and nature of violent radicalization and extremism, and to increase knowledge of their occurrence in Finland and around the world. The training considered the role of the media in popularizing phenomena and generating images, as well as the role of the internet in the radicalization process. We also looked at how the world is perceived through the eyes of extremists and how the development of such an orientation can be prevented as part of our own work. We also consider guidelines for situations where an adult or peer raises concerns about a young person’s radicalization. Finally, we looked at opportunities for collaboration between school staff, youth workers and police in the prevention of violent radicalization and extremism.