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Toolkit for Social Workers

Description: This Toolkit for Social Workers has been developed for professionals who are working with underprivileged youngsters at risk of radicalization. The toolkit provides a brief summary of the theoretical background of radicalization and describes the main current streams of radicalist movements in Europe. The aim of the toolkit is to support social workers in the process of recognising youth who are on their way to radicalization and to present ready to use activities supporting the prevention of radicalization with a special focus on cognitive biases.


Toolkit for Teachers

Description: Here you can find a Toolkit designed for teachers working with students aged 15-18. The Toolkit comprises 11 units – an introductory unit about automatic thinking and cognitive biases and 10 units focused on ten selected biases. Each unit offers a set of activities, with printable worksheets, based on real-life examples from advertising, (social) media, political and social spheres and content developed by extremists.


Free Online Course on Cognitive Biases and Radicalization

Description: The course includes a 12 hour program that you can take at your own pace. Through a diverse mix of videos, reading materials and quizzes, you will learn about the role of automatic thinking in radicalization processes and how extremist online content can trigger cognitive biases. The course provides key information on radicalization and links it with our brain information processing, to better understand the mental processes that take place when people are confronted with extremist propaganda on social media.


PrEval: Evaluation Designs for the Prevention of Violent Extremism

Description: PrEval (“Evaluation Designs for Prevention Measures – multi-method approaches for impact assessment and quality assurance in extremism prevention and the intersections with violence prevention and civic education”) is a research project focused on Germany’s evaluation needs and capacities in preventing violent extremism. The project aims at developing evaluation designs in close collaboration with its policy partners in the German federal government.


Systematic Review (3)

3rd Systematic review: Intervention

Context & Objectives

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, affecting multiple societies around the world.

In the last decade, growing concerns about extremist violence have led governments to make important efforts and invest significant sums of money in developing programs aimed at preventing and countering violent radicalization and extremism (PVE/CVE). This has been supported by a variety of actors and organizations outside the traditional national security sphere, including the mental health, education, and community sectors. The inclusion of new approaches, strategies, and stakeholders has led to an unprecedented shift in prevention—a field which, until then, was dominated primarily by traditional security approaches and often led by intelligence and law enforcement agencies. Despite the efforts and investments, current knowledge regarding best practices in prevention remains disparate, and the effectiveness of practices being used has not yet been clearly established. This means that currently, trillions of dollars are being invested worldwide in programs whose efficacy and possible side effects are unknown.

This is especially true in the case of tertiary prevention programs, i.e., those that aim to deradicalize individuals, disengage them from extremist groups, and reintegrate them into society. In 2010, Horgan and Braddock concluded that a) no systematic effort had been made to analyze such programs or initiatives; b) there were no explicit criteria for what was considered a successful outcome; and c) despite the widely publicized success of these programs by certain governments, little data existed that could independently corroborate this success. This means that available information regarding the effectiveness of tertiary prevention programs remains to be a matter of informed opinion rather than clear empirical evidence. In addition, many studies claim to be “evaluations” despite not meeting the basic standards expected of such types of studies. This is a serious issue because the implementation of prevention programs, without adequate knowledge about their potential outcomes and impact, may ultimately be counterproductive, stigmatizing, and lead to greater harms than benefits.

To address this knowledge gap, CPN-PREV conducted a systematic review of the literature on the effectiveness of tertiary prevention programs in the field of violent radicalization. The goals of our systematic review were as follows:

  • To describe the outcomes of tertiary PVE programs in terms of reducing the risk of violent radicalization;
  • To identify specific program modalities associated with a higher chance of success or failure for the targeted populations;
  • To assess the quality of the literature in order to identify knowledge gaps and studies that should be given more (or less) weight in the interpretation of results; and
  • To formulate preliminary recommendations for program providers, policymakers, practitioners, and researchers working in the field of PVE.

The review aimed to provide a reliable, trusted, and valid knowledge base for the development of evidence-based guidelines that would speak to practitioners, researchers, and deciders from multiple sectors.

Related Publications


What Is Violent Radicalization?

What is Violent Radicalization?

The Power of Words

  • Words matter. The words we use to understand events in our lives, their causes, and their solutions can justify and mobilize political and social actions. We must therefore be cautious about what words we use to talk about hate, extremist
    violence, violent radicalization, or terrorism, as their misuse may cause unintended (or 
    intended) harms to individuals and communities.
  • Generally, what or who is defined as violently radical changes across social, political or historical contexts. Also, historically, groups using supremacist and racist ideologies, as well as state-supported forms of violent extremism, have been responsible for large-scale atrocities—such as genocide or those resulting from slavery and colonization—as well as hate incidents and crimes.

At CPN-PREV, we consider violent radicalization to be a non-linear process by which individuals, groups or governments undergo systemic transformations (e.g., behavioral, socioeconomic, psychological, identity-based, political, and/or ideological) that lead them to support, facilitate, or use violence towards an individual or a group in order to further their cause and bring political, social, or economic changes to society.

  • More recently, when the term violent radicalization was used and defined, it was heavily infused with ideological and political bias and mainly targeted Muslim communities. This resulted in over-surveillance, repression, unjustified policing measures, and ostracization of Muslim individuals across the world. We need to remember that all religions—including Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Buddhism—have been used to inspire different forms of extremism.
  • Because of potential biases and double standards in the field that reinforce systemic discrimination towards some historically marginalized groups, it is necessary to constantly examine the words and definitions we choose and the ways we use them. To capture this complexity, CPN-PREV took on the challenge of offering the following nuanced definition, which we acknowledge must be constantly re-examined as the knowledge base evolves.
  • At CPN-PREV, we consider violent radicalization to be a non-linear process by which an individual, a group, or a government undergoes systemic transformations (e.g., behavioral, socioeconomic, psychological, identity-based, political, and/or ideological) that lead them to support, facilitate, or use violence towards an individual or a group in order to further their cause and bring political, social, or economic changes to society.

We also stress the fact that historical or contemporary movements of Resistance to Violation of Human Rights or Colonization should NOT inherently be conflated with violent radicalization.

Is Radicalization Always Violent?

It is important to understand that radicalization rarely leads to violence and that in fact, very few people in the process of radicalization will value or resort to violence. Indeed, radicalization is often motivated by a refusal of the status quo, a desire to change society for the better. In this respect, radical movements have often, throughout history, brought about beneficial changes in society. We can think of feminism or ecological movements. Also, we can evoke people who, by their thoughts or their gestures, have radically changed society or our way of being in the world.

We also stress that historical and contemporary movements of resistance to colonization should NOT inherently be conflated with violent radicalization.


Get to Know Brad Galloway

Our guest presenter for the third instalment of the “Get to know…” series will be Brad Galloway. Brad currently works as the Coordinator of the Centre on Hate, Bias & Extremism (CHBE) at Ontario Tech University and is also involved in several PVE/PVR initiatives such as the Organization for the Prevention of Violence (OPV) and Life After Hate, among others. Being a former extremist, Brad’s lived experiences have influenced his current work in PVE and primary research interests, which include right-wing extremism and terrorism, preventing and countering violent extremism, and the roles of former extremists in combating violent extremism.


Expo-quiz junior “Éveiller l’esprit critique, parlons-en!”

Description: This primary prevention tool intended for 9-12 year olds aims to help practitioners in education-related fields and youth workers to discuss the issues and risk factors leading to extreme behaviors that can eventually lead to certain forms of radicalization.

* Content in French only


Get to know Colleen Kerr and Brian Aasebo

The previous “Get to know…” event featured Colleen Kerr and Brian Aasebo from the City of Surrey’s Community Safety section. Colleen and Brian introduced how the Surrey Anti-Gang Family Empowerment (SAFE) Program is taking a coordinated approach to preventing and addressing youth gang involvement.

Forum Rules

Forum Rules of Conduct / Code de conduite pour les forums

Below you will find our rules of conduct for participation in the forums.
CPN-PREV moderators may choose to decline the publication of a post if it does not respect the guidelines below. If a post is not accepted, you will receive an explanatory message, with a request to modify your post before it is published.

  1. Please make sure your posts are relevant to the main topic of the forum thread. If you want to suggest a different discussion topic, please email us at cpnprev@uqam.ca . If selected, your discussion topic may be chosen for future forum discussions.
  2. Please make sure that your posts do not give any specific examples or names that could compromise confidentiality commitments you may have with clients.
  3. Please remember all posts on the forum should be considered as individual personal opinions and experiences, unless proper references to evidence-based sources are provided. 
  4. Please make sure to respect the copyright limits of any material or content you post in the forums.
  5. Please do not use the forum to advertise or announce events. If you want to share an event with colleagues, please inform the Knowledge Mobilization team at cpnprev@uqam.ca, we will be happy to include the event in CPN-PREV’s newsletter.

Vous trouverez ci-dessous nos règles de conduite pour la participation aux forums. Les modérateurs du RPC-PREV peuvent choisir de refuser la publication d’un message si celui-ci ne respecte pas les lignes directrices ci-dessous. Si un message n’est pas accepté, vous recevrez un message explicatif, avec une demande de modification de votre message avant qu’il ne soit publié.

  1. Veuillez vous assurer que vos contributions sont pertinentes au sujet principal du fil de discussion du forum. Si vous souhaitez proposer un autre sujet de discussion, veuillez nous envoyer un courriel à cpnprev@uqam.ca . Si ce sujet est sélectionné, il pourra être retenu pour de futures discussions sur le forum.
  2. Veuillez vous assurer que vos messages ne donnent pas d’exemples ou de noms spécifiques qui pourraient compromettre les engagements de confidentialité que vous pourriez avoir auprès de la clientèle avec laquelle vous travaillez.
  3. N’oubliez pas que tous les messages du forum doivent être considérés comme des opinions et des expériences personnelles, à moins que des références appropriées à des sources fondées sur des données probantes ne soient fournies.
  4. Veuillez vous assurer de respecter les limites des droits d’auteur de tout matériel ou contenu que vous postez dans les forums.
  5. Veuillez ne pas utiliser le forum pour annoncer des événements. Si vous souhaitez partager la tenue d’un événement avec des collègues, veuillez en informer l’équipe de mobilisation des connaissances à l’adresse cpnprev@uqam.ca, nous serons heureux d’inclure l’événement dans l’infolettre du RPC-PREV.

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