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Migration and Home Affairs

Building a sustainable online prevention P/CVE approach

Target Audience
Online communityFirst responders or practitionersAuthorities
key themes association
Internet and radicalisationLocal strategies/cities
Peer Reviewed practice


City of Mechelen (BE)

Type of Organisation: Governmental institution

Project description

The overarching aim of this project is to build an online branch of our local approach of preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE) – one that complements and strengthens our current offline approach.

To achieve this we aim to develop:

  • New tools

There’s a need for new tools to recognise and reach out to individuals vulnerable for extremism online. These tools include the software used to automatically capture signs of alienation. For instance, the City of Mechelen organised a pilot project co-creating and testing this kind of software in 2019.

The results suggested the following:

  1. Software can capture signs of alienation
  2. Currently there’s no clear juridical framework

These tools can also serve as new working methods like the creation of online safe spaces where youth can freely express their grievances. In 2020, the project held a first trial of an online safe space where they organised a gaming tournament.

The idea was to connect with youth and discuss serious topics during an informal event. Another example of new working methods the project will implement is building an online outreach approach in which prevention workers reach out and connect with individuals online.

  • New frameworks

The project aims to develop clear frameworks to act upon these captured online signals of alienation. These are frameworks that bridge online detection and re-inclusion with offline social institutions. There’s a need for clear legislation and for the role of each partner in the P/CVE approach to be defined (as is the case offline). To achieve this, the project will study its current workflow (AS-IS) and outline a TO-BE workflow together with partners.

In addition to legislation and frameworks that define the workflow of this new process, there is also a need for ethical and juridical frameworks in regards to online prevention approaches.

  • New skills

The project aims to increase online skills in order to:

  • understand online alienation by better understanding the online context. What are real signs of frustration and what is trolling?
  • better connect to individuals online by speaking the online slang.

It is also important to develop a better understanding of several online mechanics like disinformation and hate speech.


The official starting date of this project is July 2021. As such, the project has no concrete deliverables yet.

At the end of the project’s first  year, the following documents will be prepared:

  • A white book that outlines good practices on how to identify online signs of frustration and radicalisations (actively & passively).
  • Ethical & Juridical framework that has been approved by our local P/CVE partners
  • It is worth noting that for the juridical framework, the project is working together with a local law firm. For the ethical framework the project is working with a knowledge institution.
  • A recorded and tested workflow on how to bridge online detection and offline social institutions.
  • It is worth noting that the project will use the BPMN-standard (Business Process Model & Notation) to describe our AS-IS and TO-BE processes.
  • A description of the project’s experiences with testing several methods of online interventions (online outreach work, online safe spaces etc.).

Contact details


Grote markt 21,
2800 Mechelen

Contact person: Simon Huybrechts
Telephone: (+32) 767 027 66
Email | Website

Read the full practice

23 DECEMBER 2021
Building a sustainable online prevention P/CVE approach
(201.92 KB - PDF)