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Migration and Home Affairs

Extremism Information Centre

Country
Austria
Target Audience
Prison / probationFamiliesEducators/academics
key themes association
Family supportMulti-agency cooperation
Peer Reviewed practice
No
Year
2020

Organisation

bOJA - bundesweites Netzwerk Offene Jugendarbeit

bOJA is the centre of competence for Open Youth Work in Austria. The association is the service and networking agency for Open Youth Work in Austria, as well as the expert office for quality development in Open Youth Work. It represents Open Youth Work at national and international level.

bOJA is the spokesperson for Open Youth Work — with the aim of positioning the topics, perspectives and needs of Open Youth Work and the young people who use its services, in the national and international (youth) political debate.

bOJA is a non-governmental, non-profit organisation.

Type of Organisation: NGO

Project description

The Extremism Information Centre is a nationwide contact point for parents, teachers, social workers and any other persons seeking advice on issues of violent extremism. Our definition of extremism is broad and covers both politically and religiously motivated extremism.

The Extremism Information Centre was established in December 2014. It is financed by Austria’s Ministry of Family and Youth and European and national research funding. Its services include a free helpline, face-to-face counselling and a broad variety of workshops and trainings on issues related to how young people become attracted to extremist groups, anti-discrimination, anti-Muslim racism, jihadism and right-wing extremism.

The Extremism Information Centre offers anonymous counselling, free of charge. Its counselling model for sustainable solutions is backed by stakeholders and an interdisciplinary team of experts. We help to assess given situations and determine appropriate interventions by questioning whether the reported behaviour is a sign of radicalisation that could lead to violent extremism, or a sign of rebellion and provocation.

We provide general information (on legal issues), as well as specific information. We refer people to other institutions such as family counselling centres or open youth work organisations. We offer face-toface counselling. When working with individuals at risk, the voluntary engagement of the client is a precondition. Implementing a long-term approach, we try to detect underlying problems and drivers of radicalisation, and remain focused on the affective aspect.

The first advice we give parents is to maintain contact with their children and maintain the relationship. We advise parents to keep the channels of communication open with their children and encourage them to share their ideas. We also discourage them from arguing over ideological issues.

Our intervention aims to provide individuals with emotional support, and to find ways to reinforce trust and a cooperative mindset by strengthening the family and adolescents within their social environment. We create a support system and provide alternative social contacts and an alternative perspective on school or work.

We include a broad spectrum of professionals from the fields of probation work, youth work, family counselling centres, official bodies, job centres, therapists and (religious or other) experts. We work closely with the security service and the police, but they are only involved if requested (by the clients) or in cases of immediate danger.

In 2019, special emphasis was placed on individuals wishing to disengage from extremist groups, and family members (mostly mothers) of children who had left for warzones like Syria and Iraq but wished to return to Austria. Moreover, we intensified our work with people accused of having committed terrorist acts or of having violated the Prohibition Statute (acts under the law banning national socialist activities).

Deliverables

The website provides information on the Extremism Information Centre’s helpline, training and FAQs, as well as a news section with articles.

Video explaining extremism and the Extremism Information Centre’s counselling model.

A basic training module focusing on self-reflection and exploring the question ‘What does extremism have to do with me?’ has been developed, including related workshop modules and lectures.

Information leaflets on the services offered by the Extremism Information Centre (in six languages) and on the workshops in particular, are likewise available online.

Contact details

Address

bOJA - bundesweites Netzwerk Offene Jugendarbeit
Lilienbrunngasse 18,
1020 Vienna, Austria

Contact person: Verena Fabris
Telephone: +43 660 633 8944
Email | Website

Read the full practice

Extremism Information Centre
English
(224.9 KB - PDF)
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