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Migration and Home Affairs

Call for Participants: RAN Rehabilitation WG meeting on Returning FTFs and their families: Practitioners’ insights on improving the return process

16 September 2021 (09:30 – 14:00h CEST). This event will be held in English and will take place via WebEx.

We are looking for suitable participants for the RAN Rehabilitation Working Group multi meeting, with input from the RAN POL, Local, Health, Prison, FC&S. The topic will be ‘Returning FTFs and their families: Practitioners’ insights on improving the return process’.

Background and aim of this event

Returning foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) and their family members, and the surrounding debates regarding repatriation and rehabilitation, have been a focal point of P/CVE discussions for almost half a decade. Similarly, a number of different practitioner groups have been able to make direct practical experiences with these target groups. It is often assumed that they differ from regular P/CVE and specifically rehabilitation target groups in a number of ways, for example regarding their mental health issues, combat experience and related violent tendencies, weak ties to society due to having lived/having been brought up in the war zone.

So far, however, little has been done in terms of assessing where these differences really lie and whether they are indeed as important as they are often assumed to be. Therefore, the objective of this multi Working Group (WG) meeting will be to answer the following questions:

  • Based on real-life experiences with different generations of FTFs: How do they differ from regular target groups for rehabilitation?
    • What are their specific challenges and needs relevant to rehabilitation?
    • Which differences did practitioners expect when first facing returned FTFs and their family members? Did this reflect reality?
  • How did the specific challenges and needs related to these target groups change over the course of the past years? (Also in light of different types of returnees over this period?)
  • What are the lessons learnt in practice for future work with the target groups of returned FTFs and their family members, particularly when it comes to needs, engagement and motivation and working methods?

To gain a comprehensive picture relevant for long-term rehabilitation processes (see the seven phases of rehabilitation on the 2020 RAN Rehabilitation Manual), these questions will be discussed by practitioners from different fields and RAN constituencies: Rehabilitation (comprised of exit and deradicalisation workers and probation workers), Prison, Local, Health, FC&S.

Eligible practitioners

Practitioners who hold experience in direct work with returned FTFs and their family members will be eligible to participate in this meeting. Building on this, the core target groups include:

  • Rehabilitation practitioners (Exit work, deradicalisation work, probation work)
  • Practitioners working in the prison context
  • Social, family and youth workers
  • Mental health practitioners
  • Practitioners working on the local level, e.g. community workers


To select the best suited participants, we would like to ask you to briefly respond to the following questions:

  • Do you hold direct experience in working with returned FTFs and their family members? If yes, please elaborate briefly.
  • Which is your specific area of expertise and field of work?
  • Based on your experience, which is the biggest challenge to successfully returning and rehabilitating/(re)integrating FTFs and their family members?
  • Can you share inspiring approaches or examples regarding the meeting’s topic?


If you are interested in participating, send your answers to the above questions to maximilian [dot] rufatviolence-prevention-network [dot] de (Maximilian Ruf) by 23 August 2021.

We will invite participants based on this information. As we only have a limited number of places available for this meeting, we cannot guarantee participation. Please only apply if you hold direct experience in working with either of the target groups.

The meeting will be held online in English. 

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact maximilian [dot] rufatviolence-prevention-network [dot] de (Maximilian Ruf).