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RAN Deradicalisation (DERAD)

RAN Deradicalisation (DERAD) is the working group which focuses on first-line workers who are involved in deradicalisation processes.

Key challenge

First-line deradicalisation is intended for perpetrators in prison and probation and young people who are close to violent extremist and radicalised circles. The working group looks into all forms of extremism, including religious extremism and gangs. NGOs of specialized practitioners are very innovative and successful in their deradicalisation efforts. Therefore, they will be key to success in deradicalisation. But it is crucial that statutory first-line practitioners are represented in RAN DERAD as well. This means prison and probation staff and police,representatives, especially those involved in community policing and police crime prevention.


The objective of this working group is to exchange European best practices and approaches and communicate how deradicalisation interventions should work.

RAN DERAD poses some basic questions and issues on “first-line deradicalisation”:

  • How can first-line practitioners (NGOs, statutory etc.) be strengthened and supported?
  • How can work conditions be re-considered and improved?
  • How can professionalism and quality management be secured?
  • How can the practitioners' experiences and expertise be documented?
  • How can feedback be given to the institution?


The group will focus on the methods and tools used in the different national and regional contexts as regards deradicalisation work. This may lead to an analysis about the key factors and general guidelines of successful first-line deradicalisation work in various contexts. From there, training programs for practitioners will be developed.

Working Group updates

  • RAN DERAD will gather for a regional meeting for South Eastern Europe in Sofia on 17 and 18 July. Goal of the meeting is a professional exchange of experiences of first practitioners who are working in the field of deradicalisation and disengagement in this part of the EU.

Older updates

  • RAN DERAD organised a meeting on the role of Women, Girls and Gender in Extremism on 12-13 December in Berlin. The meeting was a cooperation with Culture Interactive who work on the research project ‘WomEx – Women and Girls in Extremism’. Some 30 participants attended, both from the German network and from the RAN. During the meeting it became apparent that the connection between, gender and radicalisation and violent extremism is usually rather traditional. Often women are considered as bystander, witness or girlfriend/wife of a radical man. Recent patterns show that women play a much more dominant and independent role in violent extremism and radical scenes. A critical question during the meeting was whether a gendered approach (specific approach for men or women) is needed in the radicalisation/violent extremism field or whether a gender sensitive approach (taking gender into account but not focused on this) is more suitable.
  • On July 8 2013 RAN DERAD gathered in Ljubljana to exchange experiences of deradicalisation work. Some 15 participants, mostly coming from Central-Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, informed each other on the local situation they work in and what kind of programs they use. The second day some practices were discussed more in depth. Given the history of the Western-Balkans, the violent past and traumas were mentioned as important triggers for radical behaviour. Lack or shortage of restorative work is paying out negatively. Nationalist and/or ethnocentric messages in the press and politics fuel distrust and hatred. Building coalitions or round tables where local NGO's, schools, municipalities, police, etc. cooperate in raising awareness and taking action against radicalisation is considered a fruitful step on the grass root level. The same applies to building capacity in neighbourhoods to allow people to take responsibility for dealing with problems at local level such as addressing prejudices, hate crime and ethnic or religious tensions. It was also stressed that the programs for radicalised or hate filled people not only should be telling how they should think but give them the chance to formulate this themselves. In this respect group discussions with peers, as a method, prove to be useful.
  • On 9-10 April 2013, RAN DERAD held a meeting in Dublin. The focus of this meeting was on young people, both involved or at risk of involvement in racist or sectarian hate crime and violent extremism. With 16 participants there was room for thorough discussion on preventive methods as well as disengagement and de-radicalisation of youngsters, using several practices, such as cultural and sport activities. The importance of multi-actors’ based approach, involving schools, youth workers, NGOs, police and media was underlined.
  • RAN DERAD had a second meeting on 10-11 October 2012 in Barcelona. As Member States from the North and West were well represented at the first meeting in Stockholm, in Barcelona practitioners from Member States in the East and South were recruited especially, resulting in some 50 attendees. Case studies and approaches were discussed, and context factors of good first line deradicalisation were formulated. Among the recommendations formulated were the need for derad trainings and awareness campaigns. Legislative improvements to tackle hate crimes seem possible in some states. Planting seeds of doubt was mentioned as a successful method, just as in the RAN @ meeting. Dozens of other methods were exchanged, varying from role play and psycho drama, to improving communication/discussion skills and Socratic dialogues.
  • RAN DERAD hosted a meeting on 4-5 June 2012 in Stockholm with 40 practitioners active in de-radicalisation. Attendees were mainly, but not exclusively, coming from the NGO sector, either working in prisons, with youth, with communities, etc. Participants stressed the similarities in the roots of different types of radicalism. Risk factors of radicalisation mentioned were, among other factors, isolation, development disorder, feeling of exclusion and deprivation. Different approaches related to the work in prison and with communities were exposed. Involving parents, friends, family and teachers appears helpful in many approaches. Deradicalisation workers discussed whether and when it is necessary to focus mainly on the future of the radical person, or to include and start with the past and the background of the person.
  • RAN DERAD policy recommendations   [78 KB] for the High Level Conference on January 29th 2013


Working Group leaders:

  • Harald Weilnböck (Germany)
  • Robert Örell (Sweden)


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