Our partner, the Canadian Practitioners Network for the Prevention of Radicalization and Violent Extremism, has released it’s 2nd systematic review on the outcomes of primary and secondary prevention programs in the field of violent radicalization. The following is the background that led to this research.
The last two decades have witnessed increases in the number of extremist groups, hate incidents/crimes, and mass attacks that target specific racial, religious, gender minority, or political groups. These attacks have also become more globalized. As a response, prevention programs have been implemented globally.
This effort to counter violent radicalization has led to increased involvement of, and costs to, institutions outside national security including mental health and education sectors, as well as legal and prison systems. Even though most of this sum was directed towards surveillance and security agencies, some funds were also directed towards programs that aim to prevent the radicalization of vulnerable populations.
Although the swiftness with which these programs were developed and implemented is commendable, the limited timeframe also left very few opportunities to empirically assess their positive and negative outcomes. The issue of iatrogenic or negative effects is particularly important to prevention programs, as they are entrenched in ideological conflicts.
Currently, practitioners are relying on the local expertise and case-by-case results to design prevention programs. Despite the clear benefits of a rapid response, the rollout of these programs in the absence of integrated evidence regarding outcomes, transferability, and benefits to communities, may be counterproductive or even result in greater harm for the targeted populations. In order to inform policymakers and practitioners on what really works, the CPN-PREV team has conducted a systematic review that addresses many questions around this phenomena.
Photo Credit : Canadian Practitioners Network for the Prevention of Radicalization and Extremist Violence